By Katie Grisbacher
Computing skills, entrepreneurship, business law, medical records, job seeking skills, financial literacy.
These are all part of the Business&ITCenter21 curriculum purchased by the Warwick HS business education department through a Warwick Education Foundation (WEF) Innovative Education Grant this past year. The curriculum and accompanying software was developed by Applied Educational Solutions (AES), a Lititz company, as an extension of a business curriculum used by Warwick for over a decade.
“We have worked with this company for years,” said Sandy Stehman, business teacher. “Their original software was pc-based. For students to work on the software, they had to be in the classroom, they couldn’t work at home.”
Now, with the new cloud-based software, students can work anywhere, even from home on a snow day, noted Dr. Judy Drager-McCoy, former head of the business department, who first discovered the AES software for Warwick years ago.
“One of my functions was to seek out technology innovations we could use in the classroom,” explained Drager-McCoy. She spotted the AES software at a conference and offered to serve as a beta-tester. The company saw she was willing to go through the growing pains of testing the program, and offered her a discounted rate. Warwick Education Foundation paid to implement the initial program and a partnership was born.
“My staff at first was reluctant,” said Drager-McCoy. “They thought maybe it was a flash-in-the-pan system – but it stuck! It allowed students to go at their own pace and teachers to customize lessons.”
By 2014, Stehman was eager to upgrade: “The old system was good, but it had seen its time.”
However, the department had purchased Microsoft Office 2013 in the previous year, so funds were not available. It made sense to return to the Warwick Education Foundation with a request for funding.
“Without the WEF grant, we would not have been able to buy the upgraded software,” said Stehman.
Students in Stehman’s introductory classes use a business fundamentals module that includes career exploration, entrepreneurship, economics, and introductory record-keeping, with enrichment opportunities in an accounting module.
A medical records class delves into health information technology, HIPAA guidelines, and patient care, giving students a taste of the medical field and what they could continue to learn in Warwick’s partnership program at the Lancaster County Career & Technology Center (CTC).
“I liked the way (the AES software) taught me about how I can use entrepreneurship skills I learned in this course out in real life to create a business,” said student Dakota Enck. “I would like to be a franchise owner, because I like the tools you are given to help you start out … so you don’t have to do as much risk-taking and you have a better chance at success.”
Student Carley Hess found the software helpful “because you can interact, and it helps you learn better instead of just listening … it helps you to remember stuff better.”
Stehman has learned to maximize her 100-student subscription by shifting the timing of lessons from class to class, making it available for hands-on use by 300 students within one semester. She has benefited from the live chat support available to teachers, even more so as Warwick once again served as a beta-tester for this product.
She likes that she has flexibility to customize the lessons – “I can give and I can take away,” she tells her students – and appreciates that the software allows students to self-pace.
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The 15th Annual WEF Golf Classic takes place on Tuesday, August 25, at Fairview Golf Course in Lebanon. Golf! Dinner! Prizes!
Start time is 1:00pm and a light lunch (hot dog and drink) will be available beginning at noon before the tournament.
After the golf tournament, a tasty dinner of chicken and steak will be served. Golfers and sponsors are welcome. There are 120 spots available for golfers. Contact Barb Mobley at info@WarwickEF.org.
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Thank you to everyone who participated in the “Thank An Educator” tribute program at the end of the school year. One hundred seventeen tributes were sent to Warwick educators in appreciation for their commitment and the impact they make for students and their education.