Business in Schools

Weakley Students - Taking Care of Business
Posted on 02/25/2021
This is the image for the news article titled Weakley Students - Taking Care of BusinessSean Stephenson says the five classes he teaches at Gleason move a student from learning the keyboard to discovering the legal and economic implications of starting a new business. He is one of five teachers focused on Business Management and Administration in Weakley County. Stacy Lockhart in Dresden, Kandace Jackson in Greenfield, and Kimberly Elliott and Brian Haskins at Westview offer a full range of opportunities for the student choosing the Career and Technical Education path.

Thanks to their understanding of business and marketing that suggests one has to know “what the customer wants” those opportunities are growing.

Lockhart is discovering the truth behind the business adage that location matters as she is getting accustomed to a new classroom, double the space she had previously called home. The adjustment was needed as she has plans to utilize the recently acquired screen printing equipment and 3D printer to help students learn by experience what it takes to sustain a small business enterprise.

Jackson is transitioning to a marketing-oriented focus in the classes she offers at Greenfield. She, too, begins with typing.

“A lot of kids know how to type by the time they get here,” she acknowledged of the freshman taking Computer Applications. “But a lot of the time they don’t know how to do it properly. So, we find if we teach this class it helps them be more fully prepared when they get into testing and being able to type their answers in a timely fashion.’

In Business Communications, her seniors are working on projects that combine resumes and cover letters and are preparing to sit down with her in the coming days to take part in a mock job interview. In a recent Introduction to Business project, students created displays capturing the evolution of different business industries.

“The transition to marketing has been a great thing. Kids are very receptive to it so I’m excited about that,” she reported.

Haskins also teaches Computer Applications at Westview which introduces students to Word, PowerPoint, and Excel as well as focusing on Web Ethics, networking, and operating system understanding.

Elliott’s focus on Business Management as well as Office Management courses enable students to engage in projects with real-work applications. Course offerings of Accounting, Business Communications, Business Management and Entrepreneurship help students realize the impact Business plays on everyday life regardless of vocation choices.

As Westview’s Future Business Leaders of America advisor, she spent the fall developing the groundwork in preparation for students to select from a variety of FBLA Skills Competitions. This year, she approached the skills competitions with a slightly different focus.

“I wanted as many kids to participate as we could to at least get something close to a normal school year—minus the field trip aspects. So, this year I approached the kids with the competitions I thought they could be most successful in. They jumped at the opportunity,” she said.

The COVID pandemic has meant students who are competing had to do virtual testing rather than traditional regional and state in-person meetings. But Westview students took the online aspect in stride.

Elliott reports Westview had 41 to test at the regional level with 37 placing high enough to move forward to state level. A total of 32 chose to participate at state against 539 other students.

Jackson and Lockhart also serve as advisors for FBLA. Dresden has a team of six participating in the state competition.

Lindsey Parham, the supervisor for Weakley County Schools Career and Technical Education sees a future for the Business Management and Administration focus of study that could even include school-based enterprises.

“With the foundation that we have laid in the classroom, the skill-building that comes through competitions, the outward focus gained through community service, and as we lean more and more into marketing, I can even see the day when one of our student projects easily becomes a small business that they continue upon graduation,” she observed. “Our valued and strong relationships with local businesses and industry means we can continue to add hands-on experiences that benefit not only the students but the school and community as a whole.”