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Challenging Students with Real-World Problems: 3DE Schools + Tech Data

Posted by Carly Beliveau on Dec 2, 2020 7:24:49 PM

3DE Schools — a high school learning model developed by Junior Achievement —bridges education and the business community through a joint venture and re-engineers high school curriculum by making it more relevant, authentic and experiential for its student participants.


Five years after its pilot, 3DE continues to expand its footprint across many school districts around the U.S., including four high schools in the Tampa Bay area this fall. That’s where Tech Data comes in. In early 2020, Tech Data signed on to be a local business partner, helping to fund the program and to develop a five-week case-study curriculum at based on a real-world (though hypothetical) business scenario.

Over the summer, several volunteers from across the business teamed up remotely and put their heads together to develop a case challenge that would help its ninth grade participants hone their critical thinking and effective decision-making skills. The volunteers created a challenge related to our Global Lifecycle Management (GLM) business, both to bring awareness to a distinct component of Tech Data’s services and to demonstrate how our company contributes to the circular economy.


3DE Explained

Operating as a school within a school, 3DE first made its debut in 2015 at Banneker High School in metro Atlanta, Georgia. Since its launch, 3DE students consistently outperform their host school comparison peers by 100% in academic benchmarks, while demonstrating the highest rates of attendance and lowest rates of behavior issues among their peers. To learn more about 3DE’s proven impact on students and educators, click here to read on.


When the case launched, 3DE students at Dunedin High School and St. Petersburg  High School – both located in Pinellas County, Florida, near our global headquarters – were introduced to GLM’S IT Asset Disposition services. They were then presented with the following hypothetical scenario:


Tech Data has a 600,000-square-foot facility, or “integration center,” where one-third of the space is dedicated to repair and refurbishment and another third is reserved for erasure and recycling of e-waste. The remaining 200,000 square feet are currently unoccupied. Should Tech Data use this available space to expand its repair services or its recycling services?

Thumb_P4The students spent the next five weeks learning about Tech Data’s history, services and global footprint, while researching the profitability and environmental impacts of both services. During Week Three, we sent in a few Tech Data experts to coach these teams and answer any unresolved questions they had about the business at large or specifics relating to the case.

At the end of the challenge, student groups presented their proposals to a panel of Tech Data executives serving as official judges. The presenting groups – sometimes composed of students presenting remotely from home along with their peers in the classroom – proposed a variety of solutions, drawing on practical data such as start-up costs, employee training, equipment maintenance, process speed, projected revenue, and even landfill waste! Ultimately, our judges selected winning teams from each school, not based on a pre-determined “correct” answer, but on the ability of each team to explain their decision-making process and present their conclusions professionally as a team.

A special thanks goes out to all the Tech Data colleagues that saw this process through every phase of its evolution — with an extra special shout-out of appreciation for Angie McCourt and Josh Patzner who led this project from inception, through student orientation, to the final presentations – and every step in between. Other dedicated colleagues include Raquel Acuna, Sonia First, Kersten Haley and Brittany Phillips who helped develop the case challenge curriculum; GLM team members Michelle Bartha, Brad DeBardelaben and Steve Bair who served as expert coaches; Kaylee Misch and Desilyn Chumbley who hosted our “Virtual Tour of Tech Data’s Culture”; and executive judges Mariano Dy-Liacco X and Bobby Eagle. Your impact on our community, Tech Data, and the lives of these students are incalculable!

About the author:

Carly Beliveau is Community Relations Manager for Tech Data. In her role, Carly manages Tech Data’s various contact points within local communities, including through charitable giving, volunteer opportunities and civic engagement. In addition to corporate philanthropy, she is passionate about growing Tech Data’s Global Responsibility program and the company’s efforts to become more sustainable and environmentally responsible.

Tags: Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Giving Back, CSR, Giving Back to School, #SeasonofGiving, 3DE