LAUNCH students collaborate on projects with local businesses


Students listen to a LAUNCH instructor

Aparna Jayashankar, Editor-in-Chief

LAUNCH, a new program introduced this year, is providing Brookfield Central high school juniors and seniors with the opportunity collaborate with local businesses and the community to solve actual problems. A combined initiative between Brookfield Central and East, the program aims to expose students to situations in which they can apply what they learn inside the classroom to the real world. As Megan Fisher, a LAUNCH teacher, asserts, “The interdisciplinary approach to learning, the direct connections and exposure to business and industry mentors, and the opportunity to deeply explore areas of interest before college or career, will provide Elmbrook students with unique and valuable experiences unlike any other in the region.” Fisher is in charge of Business Analytics, one of the three strands of Launch, with the other two being Global Business and Future Teachers.
LAUNCH is a member of the Center for Professional Advanced Studies (CAPS) Network. While a few other schools in the area, like Pewaukee High School, run similar programs, Brookfield Central is the one of the first CAPS Network schools in Wisconsin. LAUNCH is a unique program, offering students the chance to real business challenges that they may someday encounter as global innovators themselves.
LAUNCH meets every day for the duration of the school year. Business Analytics meets for one block, Global Business for two, and Future Teachers meets for one block each day.
Students have already began their first project, a non-profit challenge, with clients ranging from Elmbrook Schools to Make a Wish Wisconsin. Not only are they gaining valuable experience as a result of their collaborations, but they are applying their knowledge to leave a positive impact on their community. In coming weeks, they will be working with representatives from Novo Group, Enterforce, Aurora Health Care, Lakeside International Trucks, Sysko, Concurrency, Briggs & Stratton, Direct Supply and Sikich. Business projects will begin in October, and students will work with a variety of reputable local businesses like Harley Davidson and General Electric (GE).
​As with any new initiative, the LAUNCH program has encountered a few challenges. As Fisher says, “Working with so many outside components presents some planning challenges as we work around the availability of our business partners, but I’m very excited to watch this program grow. We have received a lot of support from both the district and the school. The business community has been amazing to work with.”
Feedback from the students is also encouraging. As Chris Calkins (‘18) reflects, ​“I feel like LAUNCH will be a really great opportunity to expand my ​learning by doing actual projects with real companies. I am extremely excited to gain the experience that I know I will receive from this awesome program.”