Deb Wolken of Lincoln Northeast High School was one of 9 teachers from 5 high schools and programs in Lincoln Public Schools honored for their efforts in teaching business classes to students. For more on that award, read this story.
Here are her responses to questions about what concepts students learn, how they learn and how the curriculum is changing for the better for students.
Why do you feel business is a good high school topics for students?
Business is such an important topic for high school students both in their personal and potential careers. Courses such as Take Charge and Business Economics can help students personally as these courses allow students to gain understanding in finance, basic economic topics in addition to career exploration with special emphasis in financial aid, scholarship application, and resume building. I frequently encounter adults of all ages that wish they would have paid closer attention to these topics while in high school. In LPS business departments, we have a multiple array of computer courses where students can learn specific software applications that they may use in post-secondary and/or in their chosen careers.
Our students complete projects of all kinds including video productions, accounting simulations, job resumes and interviews.
Digital Media and Intro to Digital Design allow students to be creative with video and design projects. Warren Buffet has emphasized that accounting is the language of business. Business Administration is one of the most popular college majors and accounting is typically one of the requirements for that major. High school accounting gives a strong foundation to those students who pursue business in college. Sports and Entertainment Marketing allows students to explore careers in the popular areas of sports and entertainment in addition to understanding basic marketing principles.
What types of projects do the students complete, and what do you see from them that assures they are growing their understanding?
Our students complete projects of all kinds including video productions, accounting simulations, job resumes and interviews. Electronic portfolios are popular ways for students to demonstrate their skill levels. One particular project this past year in Intro to Digital Design was the designing of a Rocket Booster plaque. One student's design was chosen to be used for the plaque and that student was recognized at a school assembly when the plaque (with the student's design) was presented to the individual Booster by Kurt Glathar, our principal.
One student's design was chosen to be used for the plaque and that student was recognized at a school assembly when the plaque (with the student's design) was presented to the individual Booster by Kurt Glathar, our principal.
A number of students in our Information Technology 1 and 2 classes have also been given the opportunity to become nationally certified in Microsoft Word, Excel, and Power Point. Another certification earned by our students this past year was W!SE financial literacy testing. Web Page Programming is a class where students are designing web sites. Business classes have always been more than just textbooks and tests as we have had students participate in Stock Market simulations and recently a team of students earned the right to attend a finance challenge at UNL where they presented in front of a panel of judges a financial plan for a family with real life financial difficulties and needs. (see attached photo)
What trends have you seen in recent years in the curriculum for business?
Business has always had the unique challenge of staying current with technology trends of the business world. Our students at LPS are fortunate to have current technology tools and software available to them as they prepare for their post-secondary and various career endeavors. I anticipate we will continue to see our business curriculum more involved in the computer science as businesses are continuing to request students with that background. As in all curriculum areas, using a variety of technology and tools are important to improve student engagement and learning.
It has and always will be important for me to make classroom topics relevant to students' lives.
What hopes do you still have for your students as you continue to add and refine your own lesson plans?
It has and always will be important for me to make classroom topics relevant to students' lives. A highlight in my teaching is when a former students share that what they have learned in one of my classes has helped them in some way — either professionally or personally. It always makes my day!
Published: June 2, 2017, Updated: June 2, 2017