MHS student manufacturing and design enterprise off to promising start
Along with the many new, innovative concepts introduced by MAPS for the 2019-20 school year, was the launch of the Bluejay Design & Manufacturing (BD&M) Business class.
Thus far it appears as if the course has not only enjoyed a smooth launch, but remains in a holding pattern for a sucessful pilot year.
Just over two months into the endeavor, student interest has proven strong; recruiting a full roster of 12 student “employees” and business has been good; totalling $13,000 in sales during the first quarter alone.
According to instructor Tim Krueger, in addition to being a graded course where students are evaluated as they would be in any other, BD&M is also a business. A business run by students for two hours a day in the Fab Lab and Tech-Ed areas. The class is broken up into four main sections: graphics, metals, woods and business/marketing.
“We had a lot of talented students in specific content areas that wanted to pursue post-secondary options in a specific field such as metals, woods or graphics,” he explains.
“However, because of the course offerings, students were completing all of the eligible courses in a content area after their sophomore or junior year. This meant that they couldn’t pursue classes in an area of interest during their senior year, and were losing or forgetting obtained skills or knowledge that they learned during their first few years of high school. This class bridges the gap between their content specific classes they took early on and whatever they pursue post-secondary.”
The 2019-20 Bluejay Design & Manufacturing team consists of:
2 graphics students- responsible for all of the design and layout work for the products.
2 metals students-primarily responsible for running the Fab Lab’s new plasma cutter to create signage and rings.
4 woodworkers- responsible for making frames, canvas prints and lake maps, as well as operating laser cutters and making cribbage boards.
A business student is responsible for processing customer orders, manages the BD&M facebook page, sends out invoices and updates spreadsheets of job orders.
All profits go into one general fund for the class. Each student receives 3.5% of the revenue generated from the class. 10% of the profits go into a scholarship for a student in the class at the end of the year and 8% of the profits go into an incentive account. The remaining funds are reserved for maintaining the program.
“The incentive fund works out to be very similar to paying out overtime,” Krueger explains.”Throughout the quarter students who come in to work on their own time log their hours. Then at the end of the quarter, in addition to their 3.5% from product sales, those students who worked overtime divide up the incentive fund.”
As for the future of the classroom business, Krueger states employees have expressed an interest in collaboration with the local business community and raising the bar with their sales and production goals. “This current class has mentioned they would like to meet with local businesses to see how they can partner together to work on projects,” he explains.”They also have a goal to try to generate $50,000 in revenue. They currently have a Holiday Order form with products that would make great gifts for the holiday season. They would also like to branch out and get in some more retail stores that want to sell their products.”
Bluejay Design & Manufacturing pamphlets containing product and pricing information are available at Merrill High School. For more information the high school can be reached at (715) 536-4594.