Mike Skocko

#RethinkHighSchool: Start a Business

Project Published 7/19/17 Last updated on 6/23/18

Four years ago I started a discussion on the EdEx titled Employees Only - No Students Wanted. To avoid confusion I added: The idea is more metaphoric than literal.

Two years ago I began thinking about the idea literally: Could we actually start a business at school?

To make a long story short, after researching the market, networking with the players, discussing it with the students, and finally getting approval from the school and district, we launched Mac Lab Media on January 9, 2017.

Less than a week later someone told me about Real World Scholars. Soon thereafter we were accepted into the program (during their first mid-year application window) and I replaced my Rube Goldberg-like edu-solution with Real World Scholar's tested, vetted, 100% legal Ed Corps model. Find more info here.

Mac Lab Media is a commercial art foundry. I've replaced the assessment component with the Grit-Based Rubric but this paragraph from Minimum Wage sums up my intent:

The ultimate goals, however, have nothing to do with grades. For the Mac Lab, our goal is to become a self-funded learning environment by the 2020/2021 school year. For the students, our goal is to provide the training and experience necessary to launch their own commercial art foundries upon graduation.


NOTE: All #RethinkHighSchool resources here on the EdEx rely on the concepts expressed in my (re)Imagine blog post. See #RethinkHighSchool: The Series for more information or click this link to find all resources in this series.

Age Levels
Communication and Collaboration, Research and Information Fluency, Digital Citizenship, Creativity and Innovation, Technology Operations and Concepts, Critical Thinking Problem Solving and Decision Making
CC License
Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike
4 / 5 • 1 Rating

Resources (2)

or Join for free to access materials
File Size

Comments (4)

Write a reply...
or Join for free to view all comments and participate in the discussion.

Julie Mohr

Posted on 9/12/17 8:40:31 PM Permalink

​We have been running a school based business since 2002. Our business is called School House Graphic Products and we specialize in graphic design, vinyl products (signs, car wraps), laser art and engraving, large format printing and CNC router work. The students have been so successful that the program runs year round. The students earn grades during the school year and work as paid interns over the summer. They generate enough funds to be self-sufficient. They have purchased all of their own equipment too! It is amazing what students can do even in a small rural school with a 9-12 high school size of under 60 students total.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 9/12/17 8:52:44 PM Permalink


Epic win, Julie. I was hoping you were in state. Alas, Nebraska is a bit far for observing your rockin' classroom. ​Love the pics of your "employees" in action.

Keep up the great work!

sandy wheeley

Posted on 8/30/17 3:19:09 PM Permalink

​I also run a school based Business. It is amazing to see these kids work. Many of my students have gone on and started their own businesses while still in High School. #realworldskills

Mike Skocko

Posted on 8/30/17 3:36:02 PM Permalink

Bravo, Sandy. Great to hear that the kids are picking up the ball and running with it, too. Well done!​