Entrepreneurship 805, or Shark Tank as it is referred to at James Monroe Elementary School, is part of the Graduate School program. Graduate School is a 5th grade program that uses Google Classroom to extend learning beyond the school walls. According to an article written by Nathan Manderfeld, teacher at Monroe, in his self-published magazine Learning On The Edge.

Shark Tank Debuts at James Monroe ElementaryWe offer four online classes that push students outside their comfort zones. Each class is specifically designed to challenge students to use their creativity and apply that learning in the real world. We offer Entrepreneurship 805: Welcome to the Shark Tank, Coding and Game Design: Exploring Aperture Laboratories, Becoming Superhuman, and Creative Writing: Your Force Awakens. Each class ends with a final project where students apply their learning to an authentic audience. In Shark Tank students create their own businesses, operate them, and then present them in the Shark Tank. In Coding and Game Design students create their own multilevel game, create a trade show quality booth, and present their games to the fourth grade in an E3 style expo. In Becoming Superhuman students get baseline tested, set short-term goals, train, and then see if they improve. Finally, in Creative Writing: Your Force Awakens student write and publish their own short stories. They then have a book signing in front of their peers.

This year’s Entrepreneurship 805 finished up in late January with students presenting their business plans to a team of judges consisting of Monroe staff members Tamara Lindsay, Betsy Ramirez, Kristen Hill, Claudia Smith, and Principal Mike Kint, as well as district personnel Mick Wilhite, director of supplemental programs, Mary Perry, public information officer, Kari Penny, AVID/GATE facilitator, and Superintendent Scott Bailey. The Monroe version of Shark Tank has no winners and losers. Judges are there to provide positive feedback on the student marketing plans. The program concluded with a celebratory lunch for the students, their teachers, administrators, and guests. The luncheon featured an opportunity to have local business partners review your product and plans. The three very special guests also spoke to the students about their own entrepreneurship efforts.

Andrea Carter owner of Andrea Carter and Associates, a local marketing and public relations firm, spoke about her transition from working at an agency to opening her own firm. Kent McCarthy, founder of Jayhawk China Fund and minority owner in the NBA franchise Sacramento Kings, brought his experience to the student level explaining that they can do anything they set their minds to. Shay Moraga owns a real estate property management company in Minnesota but here in the Coachella Valley she is known for her mobile yoga studio called Namaste. Many students participate in her programs and were intrigued to learn how she takes her business directly to her clients.

The Monroe 6th grade entrepreneurs include:

Shark Tank Debuts at James Monroe ElementaryAmong the new companies was Bow’s To The Sweet Life, Angelina’s hair bow and bow tie company. Her creatively branded bows are sold in a variety of price ranges and she carefully monitors cost of supplies versus return on investment.

Selin and Harlie run a party planning business out of a company called Funfetti. Not their original idea, they have licensed the idea from a student who did not want to participate in the program so a portion of their profit goes to her. Buy a party and the girls show up in your classroom or office with a red carpet, confetti, and noisemakers.

Two young men came up with the perfect way to combine their artistic talents with a unique business. People wanting a personalized comic submit an entry form and a random drawing takes place to see who the next superhero will be. Michael and Parker operate Marker Comix and you, too, can become the Superman of tomorrow.

Amber and Vebaeh positioned their business in a fast growing niche market—pet supplies. Their homemade dog treats are made with flour, baking soda, milk, peanut butter, and coconut oil and they offer three different sizes for a variety of canines. Name of their company—Pow Wow Pup Cakes.

What makes 5th grade so memorable? It is the fun things that happen throughout the year. Jesus decided to create remembrances of the events. His company, Jesus’s Souvenirs, distributes stickers at a cost of $1 each of $6 for $5. Cost to produce is $6 for 180 items. The stickers feature the water project at Monroe, the hot chocolate “Coco Loco” sale, the Color Run, the Rubrix Cube Challenge, Coding and Game Design, and Shark Tank. His assistant in the production side of the business, Mr. Manderfeld, is featured in the Color Run sticker.

Skye realized that sitting on a hard bench on the cold ground meant that there was a market for her Comfy Cozies. Made completely without sewing, the cushions can be personalized via her order form. Using a template created by her grandfather, Skye can create one of her knotted creations in about 20-30 minutes. She charges $10 per cushion that costs her $7 to make.

Snowie G is still in the prototype stage as George displayed two of his snowglobe creations to the panelists. Funded by his parents, George repays the loan out of his profits. His costs are $2.50 to make each snowglobe and he sells them for $7. He is already planning to offer the product in several sizes and was advised by the judges to work with his peers in the competition to make it a part of a Monroe souvenir.

Slime seems to be all the rage so Tiffany is making her product with some bonus glamour. She calls it Glamourous Slime and sells an eight ounce package for $10 and a four ounce one for $6. Her costs are $2.50 per package. While her formula is secret, she did research to find the proper mix and did reveal that it includes glue, soap, baking soda, and contact lens solution.

Who knows what next year’s businesses will be!