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Career Clusters™ Institute Blog Series: High School of Business™

This blog series provides readers with insight on the valuable content that will be shared at the upcoming Career Clusters ™ Institute. Guest bloggers are among teachers, faculty, researchers and other experts that will present at the national gathering in Washington, DC in June.

Jim Gleason, CEO of MBAResearch, is a former high school and college teacher. The MBAResearch and Curriculum Center is a not-for-profit association of some 35 state education departments. The Center’s primary mission is to connect education and business through curriculum research. Along with its research agenda, MBAResearch develops and supports best practice for business and marketing education, including an initiative called High School of Business™ (HSB).

Traditional business and marketing education programs are facing difficult positioning challenges in an education environment focused on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and academics. As some go-to courses are dropped or moved into elementary and middle schools, and as overall expectations for rigor and accountability are increased, administrators are looking closely at how each course fits into the school’s plans for the future. At the same time, “business” remains the number one declared major for students entering four-year colleges. Similarly, business positions are generally the first or second in terms of job openings and job projections nationally. Considered together, these data suggest that strong, rigorous, relevant Business Administration programs of study should be top-of-mind as schools address priorities for growing and repositioning CTE.

For administrators and teachers interested in rethinking traditional business and marketing programs, the High School of Business™ initiative is one of several options worth considering. Essentially, we’ve built a standards-based program of study targeted specifically at college-bound students planning to major in business. Overall, the curriculum looks a lot like the first series of courses in a college business administration curriculum. The program of study is very accelerated, including higher-level performance indicators and delivered at a pace that is more like college than high school.

In addition to the rigor associated with the curriculum itself, the program emulates college best practice through the use of project-based pedagogy. From the first semester course (of six required), students are expected to begin addressing real-world business challenges in their own communities. Although there are plenty of challenges balancing project-based with required testing, the projects quickly lead to very high levels of student engagement.

As we’d hoped from the beginning, colleges are beginning to take note. Many two-year colleges are offering transcripted credits. And, after five years of demonstration and discussion, the four-year colleges are beginning to recognize the value of connecting with HSB students. Recently, two major universities have announced plans to offer credit to HSB completers. Other negotiations are nearing closure.

Join me in this session for a quick overview of the High School of Business™ model itself and, just as importantly, a candid discussion of the challenges and successes local schools have had with implementation.

Learn more about the High School of Business™ model at Gleason’s breakout session High School of Business for College-Bound CTE Students.

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager

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