A wide variety of people have contributed to LVenture over several years to bring us to this point. We build on the history of student entrepreneurship in the Wings Program and eVenture, implementing a student-directed project in an existing high school at Lincoln Leadership Academy, and development of a full middle school/high school model that has yet to be implemented. Because of controversies, some significant contributors prefer to not be named. Others have become less involved as opposition has prevented us from implementing beyond the program level. Mark is extremely thankful to those who have contributed time and expertise in the past, and to those who remain supportive.
Mark Lang is currently shepherding the LVenture School project. Mark has a long history of leading innovative projects that tackle challenging technology and economic development issues. In his early years Mark pioneered innovative research and applications in acoustic scattering, acoustical holography, and computer graphics. Mark started bridging technology and business when he helped to launch the Ben Franklin Partnership Center based out of Lehigh University. Mark played a leading role in recognizing the serious faults in the original design of Ben Franklin and then shaping a powerful new model for how to help entrepreneurs and creative established companies innovate and grow partly by leveraging academic resources. Under Mark’s leadership Ben Franklin became internationally recognized, and the model for entrepreneurial assistance was widely adopted by others.
Mark left Ben Franklin in 2001 when he realized that the changing world needed many more entrepreneurial thinkers. Leveraging his unique experience helping hundreds of entrepreneurs, Mark became one of the first in the country to show how the creative side of entrepreneurship can be developed and enhanced at a time when most people felt this was a unique skill with which a few natural entrepreneurs were born. Mark has been involved in strengthening the entrepreneurial network or ecosystem in the region. Further, Mark honed his understanding of the entrepreneurial process and how to teach it over several years working primarily with high school students. In the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 school years Mark helped to flesh out a required leadership course at Lincoln Leadership Academy Charter School in Allentown that guided students to identify key community issues and develop novel solutions for them. Mark then led the development of a proposed charter school in Allentown called LVenture Charter School as a next logical step in his involvement with the future of education. The charter school got caught up in the controversy about charter schools in PA, but that led to openings to work with the Allentown School District on similar initiatives inside the district. Unfortunately, the district has so far backed off of all the proposed initiatives. However, Mark has continued to pursue opportunities in Allentown and elsewhere to implement these powerful learning techniques. Once one experiences how the learning excites and engages all students and leads to both academic success and the independent thinking so important today, it is hard to accept anything less.