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Marketing program recognized by state

By By Janet Little Cooper
Instructors and students involved in the business marketing program at Escambia County High School are stepping high this week after learning that the ECHS program has been selected as one of the 10 best programs in the state of Alabama.
"Being named in the Top 10 of the state is great," business education instructor Vicki Jones said. "We were selected out of all the schools; large and small. We were not separated by size like in sports, so this is a big accomplishment for our school."
The selection comes as a result of an evaluation conducted by various agencies on the local, district and state level with the final determination being made by the State Department of Education in Montgomery.
According to Jones, two busi ness-related organizations were evaluated as well as the business classes offered as an elective for interested students.
"Our two business clubs, DECA and FBLA were looked at in the evaluation," Jones said. "They look at the clubs activities and community service projects as well as the business program itself. I was the DECA advisor while Andrea Hodges was over the FBLA. She has since accepted a teaching job in Montgomery where she also plans on going back to school to get her PhD."
The two clubs have similar activities that include community service, civic consciousness and activities involving social events that teach students proper behavior in social settings.
Both clubs also have competitive events on the local, state and national levels that are geared to specific occupations.
"One of Mrs. Hodges FBLA members, Jamie Harris, was even appointed as the FBLA southeast district vice president," Jones said. "Having a student serve in that capacity on the state level certainly looks good in the program's evaluation."
The students are not the only ones who contributed to ECHS being named in the Top 10. According to Jones, the business education teachers must meet certain requirements as well for the school to place on the state level.
"They take into consideration if the business teacher is teaching in field, has met state certification in the business and industry certification process and possesses a master's degree or higher," Jones said. "It also helps for the teacher to be involved on the professional level through business organizations. For example, I have served as a state officer with DECA before, served on the DECA executive advisory board and am a member of the American Marketing Education Association (AMEA). We get points for our program for all of these things."
The business program is also judged based on the number of members in comparison to the number of students enrolled.
"I believe that FBLA was at 100 percent last year under Mrs. Hodges instruction," Jones said. "I know that DECA was not, but Mrs. Hodges did an outstanding job with the program last year and did a great service for the students."
The goal of the business education program offered at ECHS is to produce knowledgeable young people who are ready for the working world who have a knowledgeable background in business, according to Jones.
Students are offered a selection of business courses that are geared with that goal in mind.
"They can take a business technology class that is a basic introduction to computers and administrative work," Jones said. "I teach a marketing essentials class where I help the students learn how to make a resume, fill out a job application and teach them how to conduct themselves in a job interview. We do a lot of role-playing. They also have a coordinated studies class that provides an introduction to the world of work by providing them with information on how to prepare for an entry-level job in the work force and then how to maintain a job once hired."
ECHS also offers the Cooperative Education study that allows students to attend school for a portion of the day and then leave to work a part time job for the rest of the day.
According to Jones, this program is not for everyone. Students must be certain criteria to be eligible.
Jones and ECHS principal Kyle Ferguson are pleased with the student and community participation in the business education program. She encourages business owners and community leaders to contact her at the school if they are interested in employing one of the business education students on a part time basis.
"We are very proud of our career tech program," Ferguson said. "Being named as one of the Top 10 in the state is an extremely big honor for our school and the business education teachers."