The Hawk Eye
By: Rex Troute
August 29, 2010
Students who feel the entrepreneurial spirit usually get their first taste of business classes at the high school level. And business teachers see the curriculum as essential in preparing their pupils for the real world.
Deb Matthews, who is in her third year teaching business at New London High School, thinks the biggest change in business classes has been the incorporation of more technology.
"Kids are starting on computers in first and second grade," Matthews said.
At the middle school level, students take word processing classes, and in high school, every student is required to take computer applications, which falls under the business curriculum.
Accounting and basic principals of business remain staples at New London High School. A new class offered this year is a combination of entrepreneurship and business law. In the second semester, Matthews teaches marketing and work place readiness.
"It gets them ready to go out into the real world," she said.
In work place readiness class, students learn to create a resume, go through mock job interviews, and spend a day job shadowing with an area business. New London students have traveled to Mount Pleasant and Burlington to shadow an employee in a job of interest.
"I think they are very relative ... that's real life," Matthews said of business classes.
Another class that may be offered at New London High School in the future is business management.
Rod Owensby can bring practical experience to his teaching at Burlington High School as he spent time in the business world.
He's in his eighth year at BHS, and seen interest in business decline somewhat as the school has gone from three to two business teachers.
"We are getting a few less students involved," said Owensby, as a reason why the department lost a teacher.
The business curriculum at BHS is broad. None of the eight courses are required as they are all considered electives.
Burlington High School offers traditional classes like accounting, business law, introduction to business and keyboarding. Business math helps students better understand everything to do with finances, such as the cost of a loan.
Owensby is encouraged because you "see a little more business involved at the middle schools."
A course Owensby could see in BHS's future is financial literacy.
One of the longer tenured business teachers in the area resides at West Burlington High School as Cindee Reed starts her 34th year.
"Our administration has been very supportive of our program," said Reed.
West Burlington High School hosts a second business education teacher and 10 courses.
"We feel like we have a wide variety," Reed said.
She's experiencing plenty of interest from the student body as Reed's accounting class is overflowing. Twenty-six students attend the class as there aren't enough seats for everyone. Her other business classes average 15 to 20 students in attendance.
Advanced word processing and work place readiness are two classes required of each student at WBHS.
Reed believes the West Burlington school district has prepared students well for college, if they choose to pursue a business degree. In some cases, WBHS business classes are on par with freshman college classes, she added.
"We do offer an honors diploma, but it does require that you have business in it," Reed said of a West Burlington High School offering.
WBHS seniors also can take part in internships in the business community.
Reed has seen a few of her students go straight into business after high school, but most go on to college to get a degree.
She believes business classes could be an essential part of every student's education as it would help adapt them to the real world.