Business Education Council Brainstorm Session

Business Education Council
July 26, 2016 Brainstorm Session
East Hickman High School

Five of us joined teachers and administrators at EHHS on July 26 for the third Brainstorm. Following here is a summary of areas covered.

 1. Review of school board's new five-year plan, which had added a career focus K-12. No specifics picked out of it for us to focus on at this point; we may be called on to respond. One guidance counselor, Beth Copley at Centerville elementary, is seeking info. from business people in the community about their jobs, even before school starts.

 2. Field trips: a familiar list will be pursued, including UT Martin (J. Turpin will connect with C. Deal); Saint Thomas Midtown (C. Pisane); Tennessee State (D. Bradley); CSCC/TCAT-H ( ); F-HU Dickson/Nashville State (); Nissan (T. Wilkes). A contact with GM in Spring Hill is being sought. other ideas welcome. Trying to do as many as we can during the fall semester. Vision Hickman is making funding available to defray some travel costs. Career-Technical instructors went to Northfield workforce Training Center after our meeting.

 3. Guest speakers: We will do better this year. Discussion focused on interview habits and "dressing for success" as Becky Cude put it; will attempt to get Theatre classes to present do's and don't of interviews, as was presented two years ago. Asked the Career Opportunities instructors to submit guest speaker needs for their classes.. We are shooting at the Focus Time/Eagle Time part of the high school day for these assemblies, which is about 1 p.m., for half an hour. Will work on a regular weekly schedule and report to you. If you know of a speaker, please let Jennifer T. or Don Q. know

 4. Supt. Michelle Gilbert was with us, pointing to the  2021 goal of an average composite ACT score of 21; we're in the 18s. this will require rigor and port. "I think the conversations in our high schools have already changed," she said.

5. Don Q. said additional dual enrollment opportunities are being sought, and a better connection with CSCC may be the way. Cindy Morgan said there are some simpler certifications, such as Microsoft word, that could be completed in high school; let's seek these out. Relationships will allow success to build here.

 6. Next meeting is Tuesday, August 16 at 345 at HCHS. Submissions of guest speakers or field trip destinations by then would be helpful.

 The following is a letter I wrote today -- in support of a grant project at EHHS -- that provides a good summary of the Business-Education Council's work. I offer it as a way to say "thanks" for your involvement in helping more of our students find their way toward careers.

July 29, 2016


Stacia Anglin, Counselor
East Hickman High School
7700 Highway 7
Lyles, TN


Dear Stacia,

 The Business-Education Council of the Hickman County Chamber of Commerce has worked alongside East Hickman High School for the last three years on a single effort: Devise and implement ways to help students find successful career paths and learn what it will take to get there.

 Our members – business people, retirees and citizens working with teachers and school administrators – have built a series of annual field trips that carry students to places like the University of Tennessee at Martin, Nissan at Smyrna and area Tennessee College of Applied Technology institutions to give them a first-hand look at the next steps that are available.

 We have coordinated visits by guest speakers from this community in a variety of fields, from law enforcement to banking, so juniors and seniors can get closer to real-world work opportunities. We have played our parts on mock job interview panels and continue to build job shadowing opportunities.

 We have become the sponsoring organization for the Tennessee Promise mentoring program in Hickman County. Through our connection with Nissan, we have encouraged development of a Mechatronics program that, this year for the first time, helped 10 EHHS students earn dual-enrollment credit.

 We have convinced the Board of Education to add a fifth high-school-level guidance counselor, who focuses on college and career; we have developed and won adoption of a K-12 guidance curriculum that encourages career awareness activities from the earliest level; we have pushed for inclusion of career awareness components in the school board’s five-year plan. We have encouraged ability and aptitude assessments beginning in the eighth grade, and have supported the establishment of a Career Opportunities course for high school freshmen that requires them to use technology to look into careers in which they are interested.

 This past year, we learned that the college-going rate in Hickman County – we have two high schools – jumped from the traditional 40-percent level, last measured for the 2014 graduates, to 62 percent for the Class of 2015. Only four other Tennessee counties showed greater improvement.

 The Business-Education Council has pushed for an awareness that success requires more than a high school diploma. Working with Advise TN can only enhance that effort, and we welcome its involvement in raising the level of success for our students as they emerge into adulthood.


Hickman County Business Education Council

Cc: Don Qualls, co-chair