Richard Van Kaupp has a plan for enhancing business learning at school

by: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE  - Lakeridge teacher Richard Van Kaupp has added many new classes to the school's business course offerings. When Richard Van Kaupp, Lakeridge High’s new busines teacher, graduated from the University of Texas at Houston, he knew there were other parts of the world he wanted to see. When the annual job fair was being organized his senior year, the marketing major asked if firms from outside the Houston area could be included.

“Why would you want to leave Houston?” was the reply.

It has been the good fortune for many individuals in the Portland metro area that Van Kaupp left Houston and moved here nine years ago. He originally worked for a local firm creating search engine applications and volunteering in Portland Public Schools, tutoring GED students and teaching tennis lessons.

“I decided I wanted to teach,” he said.

There were two things he wanted to teach: the concept that marketing is seeing yourself in other people and personal finance skills.

“There is a big need for personal finance classes,” he said.

Van Kaupp enrolled at Portland State University to receive his masters in education. His first year of teaching was as a substitute in the David Douglas School District, which kept Van Kaupp pretty busy. The second year he served a long-term temporary position in Canby. This is the third year in his teaching profession. Having a full-time teacher at Lakeridge allows for a wider selection of business education courses to be offered.

The school now offers four sections of Income and Money Management, International Marketing, Advertising and Marketing I and II. The DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) program, which will give students an opportunity to learn about a variety of business aspects while in high school, is being reintroduced to the student body, and for the first time ever, students are operating a school store.

“We were able to add Marketing II/Advertising and Marketing II/International, plus more sections of other classes as a result of the program expansion,” said Robert Caplinger, assistant principal at Lakeridge.

“I love the material I am teaching,” Van Kaupp said. “I feel this is vitally important to teens. We had a generation of people who thought the money wouldn’t stop — but it did. I teach kids to vote with their dollars. We have opportunities to vote multiple times every day by purchasing items based on our values. I think the kids are catching on. I try to make the material relatable to them — not just the kids with a business focus, but everyone.”

For example, Van Kaupp helps students who are more focused on art or music understand business as it relates to their favored industry, so they can see how business knowledge will benefit them in those fields.

Van Kaupp hopes to enlist the aid of Lakeridge parents and Lake Oswego businesses in the DECA program. He would like for students to connect with business owners and learn what their situations are, and then analyze and present ideas for marketing help.

Those interested in helping with DECA should contact Van Kaupp at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Caplinger at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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