Best Practices

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Information about Best Practices

Published on April 17, 2008

Author: Tarzen


Slide1:  Click or press right arrow to move trhrough presentation Slide2:  Gold Star Road to Excellence Early Awareness Awards Arizona Commission for Postsecondary Education   Project Title: DVD Film Festival Applicant: Rebecca Bowlsbey, Patagonia Union High School   Project Summary: To provide the workplace experiences required by ADE’s Business Management and Administrative Services (BMAS) curriculum and integrate those workplace experiences into the curriculum, Patagonia Union High School (PUHS) students elected to work in partnership with the Patagonia Creative Arts Association (“the Studio”) to deliver a four-session film festival. Using the Studio’s small theatre and a big screen television borrowed from the local Montessori school, five Business Law/Economics students provided the advertising, technical support and labor to deliver four film screenings to the public and used their experiences as the subject matter of a business plan, set of human resources and operational policies and financial and microeconomic analyses in the classroom. The students also created a customer service plan for the festival and administered a customer survey to improve the delivery of the festival. The DVD Film Festival enabled the students to access the expertise of the school guidance counselor and the Studio staff to accomplish the curriculum objectives for this class. Upon completion of the project, the students elected to renew their agreement with the Studio to provide another film festival during the Spring Semester and have been invited to transfer the technology for conducting the film festival for later replication.   Replicability: The DVD Film Festival can be easily replicated, as the only resources required outside the classroom are a big screen TV and room with adequate seating. While our project utilized the human and physical resources of an art studio with a small theatre, these components provided value-added instead of essential resources. A business instructor with sufficient knowledge of marketing, pricing and use of a big screen TV and DVD player are the minimum requirements. Many schools now include big screen TVs among their audio-visual equipment. Food for sale at the festival was purchased from the local market, and the local newspaper provided free advertising by publishing articles drawn from the press releases written and submitted by students. The roles of the various adults contributed to student learning in clearly defined ways. The guidance counselor tested students for their True Colors. The business teacher used the results of the True Colors to assign students to roles in which they were most likely to excel[1] and provided instruction in those skills required to succeed in business and to analyze the business activities using standard management and financial techniques. Studio staff provided direct supervision of the project activity, including a timetable for advance advertising. The attached Activity Plan delineate the educational components and their relationship to the project. Students also surveyed attendees of the film festival as well as students at PUHS to determine the level of interest in replicating the project the Spring Semester. The DVD students were instructed that replicating the project was strictly their choice, and they decided to repeat the project nonetheless, making the changes suggested by the surveys to encourage more attendance by high school students. The instructor has been approached to transfer the technology of the project to other students and documentation of steps required for the project and transfer of the technology by the students to other students has been integrated into the achievement of the BMAS curriculum objectives, as evidenced in the attached Activity Plan. [1] Students served as Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Operating Officer, Advertising Manager and Human Resources Director. Slide3:  Evidence of Impact on Community Needs: The BMAS curriculum provides students the opportunity to explore the context, theory and practice of business, with an emphasis on the role of small businesses in the economy. The 22 curriculum objectives encompass both the hard skills required to start, conduct, and manage a business and the ethical, cultural and personal responsibility considerations. The comprehensive nature of the curriculum provides high school seniors the opportunity to experience all aspects of a business and then consider whether or not to pursue a business education or investigate a business of their own. At the end of the Fall Semester, students were asked to consider on their final exam whether their participation in the film festival would encourage them to start their own business in the future. Their responses are as follows:   “My experience with DVD makes me realize that making my own business would be a lot of work, but it all pays off in the end. I think it would be great to have my own business later in life. Being able to have a chance to see what being a CEO .. was like gave me the insight on a real life job .. and I really enjoyed my obligations.”   “I would be willing to start my own business because it was a fun and challenging experience”   “This is a great opportunity too and is a good experience that can prepare some one to run their own business in the future.”   “[Yes].. I can be more confident in myself and I’ll know what I am doing.”   “[No].. There was too much to watch over.”   Moreover, the project enabled students to become involved in the operation of a non-for-profit organization. Participating students donated several hours of their time to the Studio, in addition to their remunerated labor in delivering the film festival. Through their profit analysis of the film festival, students understood the need for donors to sustain projects which may not be self-sufficient if undertaken as a for-profit business and learned that the donation of their labor contributed to the continued viability of the studio.   Demographics of Target Student Population: PUHS is located in a rural area twelve miles north of the US border with Mexico. The student body of 120 is drawn from a population of approximately 2,500, of whom approximately 50-80% are Hispanic and 25% are from non-English speaking households. Though one hour from Tucson, the Santa Rita Mountains prohibit TV and radio reception. The area is zoned agricultural; therefore there are no industrial or technical opportunities for student employment or internships. The principal employers are the local school system and town and county governments; all others are self-employed in businesses that either directly provide local services (gas and food) or serve the small tourist market. Unemployment in the county is historically 15-25%, and one in three children lives in poverty. The key issue undermining student enrollment in college is the lack of modeling by adults who work in a profession that requires postsecondary education. Many of the entrepreneurs lack formal business training, and many students follow their parents’ path into manual labor or small business. Using formal techniques and theories for business analysis, students were able to learn experientially how a business education can enhance the ability of an entrepreneur to evaluate the sustainability of a business idea prior to launching it and manage the business using available financial and management techniques to improve the likelihood of a business’ long-term profitability and success. Slide4:  Academic Preparation for Future Career/College Attainment: Please refer to the attached Activity Plan for details on how the project content enriches the academic curriculum. While the preparation and analysis of the project was conducted in the classroom, the delivery of the Film Festival was conducted in a separate facility (the Studio), during evening hours after school. The project enabled the students to apply the results of their labor outside the classroom to theoretical business and economic studies. For example, using actual cost and revenue data from the festival, students were able to calculate the price elasticity of demand for their films as well as the accounting breakeven point. The latter information enabled them to determine how many clients they had to serve in order to break even financially both with and without support of in-kind donations from the Studio and thus understand the unique characteristics of a not-for-profit organization.   Clearly Stated Outcomes/Measurability: The attached Activity Plan correlates the student activities in the classroom to the competencies developed by ADE which evidence completion of the BMAS curriculum. The completion of these competencies are generally accepted by ADE as contributing to the final year or Completer status of the BMAS Career and Technical curriculum. The Studio set two objectives for the students to accomplish in delivering the film festival. First the students hoped to attract twenty students from the local community to attend each screening. Secondly, the project was designed to be self-sustaining financially, given that the in-kind donations of theatre space and the big screen TV were not included in the calculation. While student attendance fell short of expectations, attendance by adults from the community mitigated the financial loss. The lack of attendance by the target audience provided the opportunity for students to analyze the reasons and prepare a plan to redress the situation during the next festival. Participating students conducted a student survey to determine the lack of anticipated attendance and as a result of the survey changed the night of the week of the film festival to not conflict with homework and the nature of the films screened to appeal more to teenage interests. The project did meet the outcome of self-sustainability, and profits generated from the first festival will be used toward the second film festival. The students are committed to donating any profits from the second festival to the general fund of the Studio.   Beyond Requirements of Funded Programs: The project is an alternative strategy to meet the requirements of the BMAS curriculum. The BMAS curriculum requires students to obtain paid or unpaid work experiences. Most schools have a School-to-Work program coordinator or Tech Prep coordinator who coordinates students with work or internship opportunities in the community. As a designated Small School, PUHS has no coordinator. Due to the isolated, impoverished, and agricultural nature of the community, opportunities for student employment are severely limited.[1] The DVD Film Festival provided the venue and support to provide students with limited paid positions which enabled them to evaluate the results of their labor in an academic context and connect the enrichment provided by the application of the BMAS curriculum to their work to improve the delivery of their project. Additionally, the project served to provide all area students over the age of thirteen with a venue to socialize. The nearest mall and movie theatre is an hour drive from Patagonia and none of the food establishments in town are open past 5 p.m. The DVD Film Festival therefore provided a safe and supervised activity for students to attend. [1] Many local businesses do not hire staff other than the owners. Of the several local businesses that hire students, virtually all are in unskilled positions such as food service or pumping gas.

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