Plymouth High School FBLA co-presidents Hannah McFarlin and Joe Chandler hold the chapter’s third-place award from regional competition.

CTE: Business classes apply core skills to real life

Posted February 27, 2017

The 11 business education courses at Plymouth High School provide students with extensive hands-on applications of lessons learned in core classes.
The course of study has been revamped in recent years with more emphasis on business administration in addition to accounting and computer software. Five classes are rigorous enough to carry college credits.

Career & Technical Education focuses on the exploration of the self in relation to the world of work. Hallmarks of CTE are college and career readiness, academic and technical skills, work-based learning, and leadership skills. The biggest CTE disciplines are business education, technology education, culinary arts, and agriculture. We are exploring each of these in February, which is CTE Month.

Core connections

Business education draws on skills learned in all core classes, especially math, science and English.

“In English classes, we work on developing and improving speaking and writing skills, and these are critical skills in today's business world, especially since there are so many relatively new ways to communicate – email, video conferencing, and a multitude of social networking platforms, for example,” said PHS English teacher Lucas Cleary.

In addition, business professionals and students in business classes need to be skilled critical thinkers and problem solvers, he said. “The writing in English classes often demands that students create inferences and defend viewpoints while providing an understanding of multiple views, and this requires considering a problem, creating original ideas, and being informed about opposing viewpoints, which are all components of critical thinking.”

Business also is intertwined with global education, as recognized by The Global Marketplace course. This project-based business course allows students to expand their understanding of consumer spending, government policies, economic conditions, legal issues, and global competition. Throughout the course, students are presented with current economic problems for which they are asked to determine possible solutions.

The newest course, Management and Leadership, prepares students to meet the challenges of leadership in today’s complex global business environment. Students learn to apply the business management principles of planning, organizing, staffing, leading and controlling. This project-based course allows students to apply the information and knowledge that they acquire to simulations and case studies.


Workplace readiness

All business education classes provide a foundation for careers in accounting, information, marketing, and management. In addition to the classes mentioned above, students can position themselves for such careers by pursing the following opportunities at PHS:

  • Future Business Leaders of America: The PHS chapter of this extracurricular group was re-established a few years ago and has been very active since. Students attend conferences and compete in business events.
  • Reality Day: PHS business teacher Todd Williams is leading a collaboration between the business department and social studies department and area business to provide students with this personal finance simulation.  Students will receive paychecks, pay bills, decide on their transportation, housing, and insurance needs, along with other "real-life" financial situations that may arise. Students will interact with a local insurance agent when buying insurance, a real-estate agent to fill their housing needs, a banker for a car loan, etc.
  • Youth Apprenticeship: This year-long opportunity is available to juniors and seniors. Wisconsin’s Youth Apprenticeship Program integrates school-based learning and work-based learning to provide youth with academic and occupational skills leading to both a high school diploma and a Certificate of Occupational Proficiency. This program combines academic and technical instruction with mentored on-the-job learning that makes a real world connection for the students. This program is open to juniors and seniors, and students may apply in February. Students must maintain good grades in school, work for at least 450 hours in a year, achieve required work skills, and meet high school graduation requirements in order to complete the program.


Awards and accolades

The PHS business education program has garnered a number of awards in recent years:

  • PHS business teacher June Winkel received a 2017 Top Tech Award from Lakeshore Technical College.
  • The Plymouth High School chapter of Future Business Leaders of America placed third as a team in 2017 regional competition, with 26 students qualifying for state competition.
  • Four PHS students qualified and competed at the 2016 FBLA National Leadership Conference.
  • Mrs. Winkel has been awarded a 2017 grant from the Wisconsin Institute of Certified Public Accountants Educational Foundation, which will be used to fund a field trip to the Kohl Center and Epic Systems to observe business practices in action. She has used past grants to fund trips to Kohler, Acuity, Miller Park and Kalahari Waterpark.
  • PHS business teacher Todd Williams serves as the WEBIT (Wisconsin Educators of Business & Information Technology) District 6 Representative.
  • In March, PHS business students again will be competing at the Lakeland College Forensic Accounting Competition and at the Junior Achievement Business Challenge at Acuity. PHS traditionally has had strong performances at these events.
  • Eighteen business students will be inducted in the National Business Honor Society this year.


Learn more:

PHS business teacher June Winkel honored with LTC Top Tech Award.
PHS FBLA placed third as a team at regionals, with 26 students qualifying for state competition.
Explore the Business Education curriculum offered at Plymouth High School.