Each semester, Aaron Walls, teacher at Cactus High School in Glendale, Arizona, teaches a transition class for students with special needs. It began in 2009, when a group of special education students in his marketing class decided they wanted to start a student-run business. In considering their options, they learned about VariQuest Visual Learning Tools, and voted to decide they would be the best option for their student-based enterprise, called MACH Replica (meaning “fast republication”).
Since then, Walls has created a sustainable business where students take orders from district and community members, design and create posters, banners, signs, decals, stickers, award plaques and more. Walls says,
We were very impressed with the possibilities VariQuest offered. After securing a grant, we purchased the Design Center 1000, Poster Maker 3600, Cutout Maker 1800, as well as the Awards Maker 400…Through our success, MACH Replica was able to purchase the Perfecta 2400 Full Color Poster Design System in the spring of 2013, which has given us the opportunity to offer a fantastic array of impressive new products.
Each semester, when students enter Walls’ class, they start MACH Replica by applying and interviewing for a range of job positions that include:
- Sales Representatives who meet outside of school with area principals and the Parks & Recreation Department to collect orders
- Design Managers who use the Design Center to design the output requested
- Production Managers who manually create the output
- Purchasing Agents who create the price list, submit POs for supplies and ensure that everyone has what they need to make the business run
- Account Representatives who process invoices and collect payment
Walls and the students have found the VariQuest tools to be instrumental in MACH Replica’s success because they can quickly, easily and affordably create all the output they need in-house with no need to go out into the community for production. VariQuest makes it easy for the school and Walls to help students develop real-world job skills and improve self-advocacy. Walls adds,
VariQuest Visual Learning Tools have given our students across the special education spectrum a chance to gain real world work experience at school. Students have learned workplace skills, computer skills, design skills, money management, as well as numerous marketing strategies and economic concepts. These tools have allowed me to take Transition in the classroom to the next level.
From event and club posters & banners, signs & decals for sports teams and school spirit, award plaques for student recognition and so much more, MACH Replica students are using VariQuest Visual Learning Tools to meet the needs of their school and community while gaining valuable work skills and knowledge.