LEAD – Instead of learning the ins and outs of running a business in school hard knocks after graduation, students at Lead-Deadwood High School will have the chance to learn kinda straight into their classrooms on campus right now.
“We’re thrilled with it,” said school district superintendent Dr. Erik Person. “Right now, we offer four core courses in the business program – an introduction to business, an accounting course, a marketing course, and a business management course. As the focal point of the business program, a key element will be a store run by students… Certainly under the direction of their certified teacher.
The course curriculum will include key business concepts taught through highly engaging business simulations and hands-on real-world experience that students will gain while managing and operating Digger Mart, a store for students.
The person went on to say that intro to business and accounting students I would have some interaction with the store, but it would not also be part of their curriculum.
Collaboration with the efforts of existing clubs will be key to the store’s success.
“I think there is an opportunity where we could partner with the Booster Club to make the clothes more available, help the Booster Club to manage their inventory… and I think there is enough pie for us to sell Digger clothes in our student store every day and don’t take a bite out of it, probably actually helping.
Food items that comply with the federal school lunch program will also likely be part of the store, such as coffee items.
“The main purpose of the store is an educational tool,” Person said. “First and foremost, the store will be an essential part of a hands-on business curriculum. A secondary goal of the store will be profitability, as profitability will help the program to be partially self-sufficient. “
The students will have a considerable contribution on the products stored and sold in the store.
“Some of the items for sale in the student store might include clothing, equipment and Digger merchandise, snacks that meet USDA Smart Snack guidelines; coffee drinks and smoothies that meet USDA Smart Snack guidelines; school supplies and some manufactured goods from other L-DHS CTE programs.
In the initial start-up, the district will use substantial resources from the Mary Jensen Estate, which have been donated to the district to be used to train students to acquire business skills.
The district bequeathed $ 690,000 from Jensen’s estate, and in September, the sale of a house in Florida that belonged to Jensen’s deceased daughter brought in an additional $ 45,000 for the district.
“Some of these start-up costs will include, but are not limited to, the remodeling of a space for a storefront in the school building, the remodeling of the indoor and outdoor seating for the sale of snacks and drinks, equipment, signage and initial inventory. ”
The 2022-2023 budget for the business management program is $ 292,000 and $ 117,000 per year until 2026-2027.
School board member Amber Vogt suggested bringing together ideas and contributions from Black Hills State University’s Business College in a collaborative effort.
“Any real world experience you get – business is a lot different from learning it from a book and accounting from a book than actually doing it,” said school board member Suzanne Rogers.
The person said there are several students who can go into a trade and / or run their own business.
“Maybe we could give them business skills here,” he said.
The discussion then turned to the Mary Jensen money.
“If you look at the first year, we’re talking about getting a lot of it out and then weaning ourselves off in years to come,” Person said. “So hopefully when we get to a situation where we’re generating income, maybe we could replenish that fund a bit to make it a sustainable thing, so eventually if we need new equipment, a new program, that sort of thing, that would be a source that could support that program years later.
Tim Madsen, School Board Member, highlighted one thing every business needs.
“Every business now needs an online component,” Madsen said, perhaps suggesting linking the business to an online store. “Every business now needs to have an in-line component to be successful. “
The person said it could also be a good cross-departmental collaboration, with, for example, web design courses.
“What if, for example, the lunch program was present in our Digger Mart?” Nobody said. “Like maybe a take out that came from that kitchen, but maybe that would help that part.” “
The plan is to set up the business stream for the fall 2022-2023 school year and to post the associated teaching position in January 2022.
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