At its core, StandWatch Academy is all about teaching our young people how to make our communities better, one experience at a time. By following a unique and proven curriculum, we develop leaders and social entrepreneurs who can conceptualize a new way of attacking problems that need solving.  These are just a few of our online classes.

Lesson One

Identifying Your Cause Through Research

So, you want to start a social enterprise or small business and do some good in this world?  Awesome.  How are you going to do it?  Is it an obscure issue or do most people already know about it?  How are you going to fund it?  How should you organize and recruit help?  What tools are you going to use to measure how much good you are actually doing?  These are just some of the questions that you have to answer before setting off on your journey to build a social enterprise. This lesson will help you develop answers to some of these questions as you set out to change the world.


By the time you complete this lesson, you will understand the challenges of finding reliable market research and have the basic skills needed to conduct market surveys. Additionally, you will also have a short list of issues and projects that you can incorporate into your plan to build a social enterprise.

Lesson Three

Designing Your Logo

Creating a brand begins with a well-designed logo. In the logo creation process, we’ll look for inspiration pieces, and understand how images are manipulated with Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator.  Additionally, students will learn how the use of colors and imagery should carry through to an effective branding campaign.


To teach students the basics of using Adobe Creative Suite to design logos and marketing materials for their organizations while learning how to create a brand.

Lesson Five

Building a Webpage: Stage 1

Developing a digital strategy for your organization means a lot more than simply building a website.  Today, “digital strategy” is a comprehensive approach that includes every method that consumers and supporters use to access the content you produce for your organization, regardless of the channel.  Channels include websites, social media, blogs, podcasts, videos, and “print” products like PDFs.  It all starts with a website, and your first social media channel.  From there, it grows. We will start this process by teaching students how to build their personal profile webpage on using the Avada Theme and WordPress.


To teach students the basics of setting-up and designing a website using WordPress, Photoshop, and other tools, while integrating the site with a social media strategy.

Lesson Seven

Producing Great Images

The technology that most people carry in their pockets today was nearly impossible to imagine just thirty years ago.  Having the ability to make “video phone calls”, take pictures, send email (which didn’t exist), and talk to anyone in the world on a single, hand-held device was simply inconceivable.  That was the stuff of Hollywood or multi-billion dollar defense projects.  Yet, that’s where we now find ourselves.  Whether you realize it or not, your smartphone is a revolutionary device that is changing nearly everything about how people communicate.  That is no more evident than in the field of media production. In this lesson, we are going to leverage the capabilities of the smartphone and learn how to shoot better still photos.


By the time you complete this lesson you will have tried nine different techniques for taking better pictures with your phone.

Lesson Nine

Preparing Slides and a Presentation Script

Earlier in the course, you read the book, TED Talks: The Official Guide to Public Speaking.  I made no secret that I am a big fan of that book.  I am a firm believer in the importance of presentation literacy.  As you grow older, having the ability to present effectively to groups large and small will be critical to your overall success, no matter what career you choose.  Even today, as high school students, you are required to do various presentation projects.  In this lesson, you will learn how to do them the right way.  Lesson nine requires students to do two things: Prepare a properly formatted slide deck, and write a detailed presentation script.


By the end of this lesson, you will have developed a six-slide presentation and audio script that explains your idea in a concise and compelling way.

Lesson Two

Organizing, Naming, and Developing a Mission

Developing an effective name and mission statement is critical to gathering support for your idea. You must be able to describe your project, demonstrate your passion, and generate interest with just a few words.  It takes a lot more work than what you might imagine. You’ll know you’ve nailed it though, when the next thing you hear after telling someone your mission is, “Tell me more.”


By the end of this lesson, you will have decided on a business structure and concept for your project.  You will also have a name, mission statement, and short “elevator pitch.”

Lesson Four

Creating Graphics for Social Media and Websites

For better or worse, social media is a still a popular venue for marketers trying to reach customers.  As such, creating a professional look for all of your social media channels is critical.  This lesson will focus on carrying a consistent look and theme across all of your social media accounts and website.


To teach students how to create effective wallpapers, banners, profile photos, and social media content.

Lesson Six

Creating Content: Writing Effectively

Today’s world is overloaded with negative, cynical attacks on everything under the sun.  No matter what’s being discussed, someone is angry about it for some reason.  In this environment, the best way to stand out and get noticed is to forgo the negativism, and use humor to get your message across.  But like every other form of writing, creating comedy is an art that has to be developed.  This lesson is the first of three classes on teaching students how to move their message with humor.


Students will be introduced to the art of writing one-liners by captioning cartoons. By learning how to write precise sentences that communicate a point quickly, students will begin developing the ability to summarize complex issues in a timely and effective way.

Lesson Eight

Shooting Scripts and Shot Lists

In today’s world, having the ability to communicate your ideas through video is easier, and cheaper, than ever.  As we discussed in the previous lesson, most of you carry around a device in your pocket that has more media production capabilities than many local television stations had back in the 1990s. Locally, news stations and production companies use iPhone 6s to film many of their news stories, and this is true all over the country.  With that level of technology available to you, it only makes sense to learn how to maximize its effectiveness and capabilities.

In this lesson, we are going to do several things to get you ready to plan, shoot, and edit your own 15 second commercial. Your job is to plan and write a 15-second commercial about why people should care about your issue.  We will film them on the expedition out west. Step one is to conceptualize your video with a basic script.


By the time they complete this lesson, students will have developed a basic script and shot list for a 15 second video that communicates why people should want to learn more about their project.

Developing Better Communications Skills

The best way to learn how to communicate better is to, well, communicate.  With this in mind, during the course and especially while on the expedition, students will begin publishing the SWA Expedition Report, a daily blog where each student is required to produce:

  • A daily feature photo
  • A daily update consisting of at least 300 words written in a news format
  • Factoids for the next day’s destinations (the stranger the better)
  • A short 200-word update written in first-person as a fictional character
  • A relevant factoid about the issue or cause on which your business idea is based

Final Project

Using creative graphics and concise writing skills, create a one-page marketing piece that describes your project and encourages people to ask for more information. The piece must explain why someone should invest in or donate to your project.

Upcoming Lessons

  • Setting Up Social Media Accounts and Information Security 
  • Developing a Digital Strategy
  • Designing a Custom Postcard Marketing Piece 
  • Creating Content: Writing Effective Blog Posts
  • How to Make Videos That Aren’t Awful 
  • The Basics of Scriptwriting and Pre-Production 
  • Production Planning and Hardware Requirements 
  • Setting Up a Project in Adobe Premiere Pro
  • Creating Content: Filming a Video Interview 
  • Seven Steps to Producing a Podcast
  • Posting a Podcast to iTunes 
  • Editing Audio with Adobe Audition
  • A Short Guide to Giving a TED Talk