The special education students of , led by teacher Jeff Waugh, are learning what it's like to run their own business - and helping to bring in extra money for the school's special education programs in the process.
As part of a special project aimed at teaching the students life skills, working as a team, organizing, and even selling, the students of the special education department have started a mock company making, promoting and selling holiday wreaths, garland and centerpieces this month.
The "making" of the wreaths is the only part of the company that is "mock" - the school is partnering with an actual wreath-making company to provide the goods, but Waugh says, the students are doing everything else, including promoting their "company," taking orders for the holiday goods, handling the funds and organizing the business.
"The Milpitas High School Wreath Company (MHSWC) is a mock company that was created to help students receiving Special Education services to develop functional life skills," Waugh explains. "The MHSWC’s main goal is to aid students in achieving the greatest amount of independence, with the belief that all students are capable of learning to achieve."
Waugh says students rotate working different positions in the "company" in order to try them all and learn a varied set of business skills, such as learning to be responsible for and caring for material goods, understanding money management concepts such as how to purchase goods and handle money, and learning about team work and the rewards of hard work.
"They've been working very hard at organizing and selling," Waugh said.
Waugh said MHSWC is taking orders for its products through next Friday, Nov. 18. The products being sold all feature real, fresh parts of the best trees such as Noble Fir and Western Cedar. For sale are centerpieces, rows of garland, and different styles of holiday wreaths and "swag" featuring pine cones, berries and festive bows. Prices range from $15-25 per product.
Waugh says, "All of the funds raised from this venture flow directly back into the Milpitas High School campus to sponsor Special Education events. The Milpitas High School Wreath Company is an undertaking by students, for students."
Orders must be received by Nov. 18. The PDF document attached to this article includes the official ordering form, and completed forms and payments can be dropped off at or mailed to the school.
For more information or questions about ordering, e-mail Jeff Waugh at firstname.lastname@example.org.