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Through the Eyes of an Administrator

Through the Eyes of an Administrator: The Why and How of High School of Business

The following is an email interview that took place in September 2011 between Dale Hoerauf, CTE Director of Bismarck Public Schools in Bismarck, North Dakota, and Lisa Berkey, Program Director of High School of Business. First, some background information:
 
  • Bismarck Schools joined High School of Business in 2010/11
  • Initially, two school buildings (grades 10-12) were involved
  • In 2011/12, two junior high buildings (9th graders) were added to offer the Leadership and Wealth Management courses.
  • Two teachers at each high school are enrolled in High School of Business’ summer and fall professional development sessions. One teacher at each junior high will receive training for the two courses mentioned above only.
  • As is required of all High School of Business sites, Bismarck’s program is led by a local steering team comprised of post-secondary faculty, local business professionals, and high school faculty and administrators.
  • College credit agreements are in progress with local institutions.

Lisa Berkey: Thinking back to when you first heard about High School of Business. What piqued your interest? What did the program appear to offer that you, as an administrator, found important?
Dale Hoerauf: My interest was piqued when I saw and understood it was a solid curriculum designed around projects for students.  Quite frankly our programs were not very project based at the time.  We were doing some activities but were not project based.

LB: How has High School of Business contributed to your school’s business/marketing education program?
DH:  We have raised the level of understanding in our school’s business/marketing programs.  We had not been attracting some of the higher level students in the past because I believe they did not see the relevance.  That is changing.

LB: What advice would you give other administrators who are deciding whether to implement the program?
DH: My advice would be to make sure you plan a budget for the HSB and that this is not going to be a one-time “shot in the arm.”  Get community and chamber of commerce involved, and they will be your best supporters.  Most important is the 9th grade classes (Wealth Management and Leadership) so you can begin the journey through the HSB courses.

LB: Has the program improved your relationships with your local business community? Area colleges and universities?
DH: It has greatly improved our relationships with colleges. They also see the relevance of what we are teaching and now want to sit at the table with us to discuss Dual Credit. The monthly steering team meetings have been a good way of staying in contact with the Chamber.

LB: Please add any other comments you believe would be helpful for administrators who are considering the program.
DH: My last comment would be the collaboration time our HSB teachers have spent since HSB was adopted in Bismarck. Our district has implemented PLC’s (Professional Learning Communities). High School of Business was and is based off the PLC model. Except it takes it one step further by collaborating with other schools around the nation and businesses in the community.