Professional Networking and Communication Class Provides Real-World Experiences
Second semester of this school year, some of our Seniors took part in a new course called Professional Networking and Communication. The class, taught in collaboration by English teacher Karen Schoenberger and business teacher John Lindsay, gave the students the opportunity to explore the world of business by taking part in tailored site visits with a local corporation, business, or organization.
Dr. Bill Miller, Director of Curriculum and Instruction explains how the course came about: “During the 2016-2017 school year, a convergence of feedback from students, teachers, parents, and alumni indicated a need for something different. Student surveys expressed an interest in more business classes, ones that might tap into our community resources. Teachers spoke of a need to create a different kind of senior English class. And, parents and alumni spoke of professionals with college degrees having to go back to school to better understand the language of business in order to launch their private practices. Those voices included psychologists, surgeons, lawyers, and artists, all of whom helped us to realize that the language of business is an integral part of building twenty-first century capacities in our students. In short, it is a sort of literacy. So, this course was developed with all of those voices at the proverbial table in an ambitious attempt to meet all of those needs.”
As Mrs. Schoenberger and Mr. Lindsay set out to develop the curriculum for the class, Dr. Miller reached out to area business leaders to develop community partnerships. Our inaugural group of businesses and organizations that welcomed students included Welltower, Owens-Illinois, Great Lakes Marketing, Hylant, Promedica Physicians Cardiology, and the U.S. Coast Guard.
The course itself was a project-based learning experience personalized to each student, incorporating business education and technical communication skills for early workplace awareness and success. Students made on-site visits to partnering organizations to explore career paths, industry issues, and post-secondary education and growth possibilities. In preparation for these visits, students received instruction in business concepts including management, human capital, marketing, leadership, finance and accounting. They were then asked to set individualized learning objectives and share them with their host organization, who helped them see how these concepts are applicable in real settings. Students also explored these topics through a common reading of Grit by Angela Duckworth. Along the way, they built a portfolio of their learning that included analysis of artifacts they collected and samples of business writings. Their work culminated in a presentation to their peers.