New business class provides more than entrepreneurship |

New business class provides more than entrepreneurship

Financial advisor James Burston speaks to students.
Jim Grant | The Record-Courier

A new business class at Douglas High School is teaching students about more than entrepreneurship.

Students in Jill Alley’s principles of business and marketing class are learning to balance a checkbook, properly and safely manage a credit card and are gaining financial confidence for life after high school.

“This class is life-changing,” sophomore Diego Lolis said. “This class teaches what you need to know after high school, whether you go for a business career or not. I feel confident for life after high school.”

The class is new at the high school and provides students with credit toward the career technical education state requirement, according to Alley.

“Students observe business and marketing from the standpoints of both a consumer and a businessperson. Topics include job interviewing, human relations, communications, personal finance and current events as related to business and marketing,” Alley said. “We have had several local business people come in to talk about the realities of owning a business. Some of those were JT Basque, Waddell & Reed, Paul Schat’s Bakery, Dub Tile, Tahoe Fence and even a representative from the 49ers.”

The class is also part of the Junior Achievement program, a worldwide nonprofit organization for students kindergarten through high school that focuses on the three the pillars of student success: Work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy.

“Junior Achievement really works because it involves the community,” said Edward Jones Financial adviser, James Burston. “When a teacher is willing to partner with someone from the community who can provide some insight, the students get a different perspective from someone one who isn’t just a teacher. They get more involved and receive greater clarity and understanding of how a business works in the real world. That’s what Junior Achievement does.”

Burston volunteered his time to teach students about entrepreneurship.

He provided the students with feedback on an in-class project in which they created the idea for a business, developed a business plan and created advertising strategies.

“James made it a rewarding experience,” said Lolis. “He taught us that running a business is rewarding if it is done correctly. That’s also how he ran the class, as if the class was a business and our reward was based on what we did to be successful at what we do.”

Alley said this is an introductory course, and that next year a course in business management will be offered. The program will extend to third and fourth-year classes with the possibility of students receiving college credit.

“This has been a really fun classes to teach,” she said. “My students are active, they are insightful, and they are grateful to be learning such relevant curriculum.”

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