In The News

Room for More in Lakota’s Portfolio of 300-Plus Business Partners

January 6, 2020  |  LAKOTA CYBER ACADEMY

When your end goal is to graduate students ready for one of the 4Es - Enrollment, Employment, Enlistment or Entrepreneurship - it only makes sense that you lean on the thriving business community surrounding our schools. 


Lakota Local Schools did just that when it came time to design its quintessential “Portrait of a Graduate.” Knowing that student success is defined by far more than a transcript and standardized test scores, the Portrait literally defines the skills, characteristics and attributes the district wants to develop in every Lakota graduate. Local business owners were just one of the groups the district invited to the table for that important discussion and after months of deliberation, they had their “north star” to help guide all future instructional and programming decisions. 


But Lakota’s partnership with the local business community is far more active than a sounding board for curriculum decisions. In the last two years, the district has activated nearly 300 local businesses to play an active role in preparing students for life after graduation. Those connections range in scope from expert classroom visitors and program sponsors to mentors, panelists and internship hosts. 


Lakota’s new Cyber Academy, which offers students a head start in one of the fastest growing professions in the world, was the direct result of multiple professionals coming together around a single cause. In its first year, more than 150 East and West high-schoolers have the opportunity to earn up to six industry certifications in cyber security, a field expected to have about 3.5 million unfilled jobs by 2021. 


Lakota’s newest venture is in partnership with a steering committee made up of mostly local business leaders. The group has reimagined Lakota’s pathway for future business owners and entrepreneurs, capping it off with a nationally recognized program called INCubatoredu@Lakota. Basically “Shark Tank” for high-schoolers, students will work alongside professional mentors to ideate and develop their own product or service. In the end, they will compete against their classmates, pitching their ideas to investors who will award seed money to help make the top ideas a reality. 


 “Building the skills that we want to see in our graduates starts as early as kindergarten,” said Lakota Superintendent Matthew Miller. “With 16,700 students looking to us for guidance on their post-graduate plans, we need all of our local business leaders on board to help us make those connections.” 


Learn more about how to join Lakota’s growing portfolio of business partners.