Chariho students getting chance to try out ideas in incubator business setting

Chariho students getting chance to try out ideas in incubator business setting


WOOD RIVER JUNCTION — A new incubator program will offer Chariho seniors opportunities to explore, develop and present their business ideas.

The district is the first in New England to offer the INCubatoredu program from the Ilinois-based company Uncharted learning. The company’s Executive Director, Margarita Geleske, welcomed Chariho to the program.

“We are honored to work with Chariho,” she said. “The school district’s leadership has a strong commitment to creating innovative learning opportunities for students, which makes for a terrific environment for the entire community.”

Seniors will be able to enroll in the new program in the next semester, and the course will run for the full school year thereafter. Working with industry mentors, students will plan, develop and then pitch their business and product ideas during Pitch Week, which will take place later in the school year.

Superintendent of Schools Barry Ricci welcomed the news that INCubator would become part of Chariho seniors’ personalized learning experience.

“With opportunities for internships, personalized pathways, independent study, virtual learning, advanced placement and other college credit earning opportunities and career and technical programs, the Chariho senior has a variety of authentic ways to apply knowledge and pursue areas of interest and passion as they transition to college and careers,” he said.

The $20,000 INCubator curriculum fee was paid with two $10,000 donations, one from the Rhode Island Office of Innovation and the second from the Kimball Foundation. An additional $15,000 for curriculum research was donated by the Community 2000 Education Foundation in conjunction with the Chariho Rotary Club.

INCubator instructor Susie Scanapieco, who attended last summer’s INCubatoredu National Summit on High School Entrepreneurship in Chicago, said she was confident that the Chariho program would give students a realistic and meaningful entrepreneurial experience.

“I am certain we are offering Chariho students an authentic ‘real world’experience through INCubatoredu,” she said. “This program offers our students a top notch curriculum, lessons co-taught with local experts, and guidance from community mentors. The students will learn the rigorous Lean business model while also sharpening their soft skills, which will be essential to success in a 21st century career.”

Mentors recruited from area businesses will follow each team through the entire entrepreneurial process from the idea to the final pitch, offering advice and encouragement.

Chariho Business and Technology Department Chair Madeline Crocker said the INCubator program would add a new level of practical experience to the business curriculum.

“INCubator is a tremendous opportunity for our students who have studied the various structures of business and the important roles that entrepreneurs serve in our economy to have the chance to see their ideas become a reality,” she said.

Chariho High School Principal Craig MacKenzie said the program would give students a competitive edge.

“We challenge our students, who identify themselves as Chargers and The Herd, to lead the Herd and work to distinguish themselves from other students regionally, nationally and internationally as they compete for scholarships, admissions, and jobs,” he said. “INCubator provides our students with that opportunity by engaging their creativity, resourcefulness and entrepreneurial spirit.”


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