Editor's note: This story was corrected Jan. 26 to show that Payette River Regional Technical Academy, not Gem State Adventist Academy, has a High School of Business program.
CALDWELL — Standing on the top of the Empire State Building with his students, Mountain View High School business teacher Don Howell looked over the number of businesses on the New York City skyline.
“We are also going to the New York Stock exchange and the financial district so the kids get to see how that works,” Howell told the Idaho Press-Tribune from the top of the iconic New York City landmark on Thursday. “The purpose is to see how businesses do it outside of little old Boise, Idaho.”
Howell and a group of seniors from the Meridian school traveled to New York for several days as part of the last semester of their High School of Business program.
During the three-year program, students have heard from multiple local businesses — including CapEd Credit Union, KeyBank and Junior Achievement — and are now in the process of creating their own business.
Caldwell High School is in the first year of implementing the High School of Business, joining Mountain View High School, Kuna High School, Middleton High School, Compass Academy, and Payette River Regional Technical Academy in offering the business program.
“We are the sixth school in the state to have the program,” Caldwell High School business education teacher Matthew Schneiderman said. “I wanted to get a program into Caldwell that would allow students to explore the business environment in a complete package.”
The program will give Caldwell students assess to six classes to build their knowledge of the business world and skills in finance, marketing, accounting and employee management. Like Mountain View High School, Schneiderman also plans to partner with business owners in the community who will give students insight about the industry.
Because the program touches on several aspects of business, Howell said it offers good career exploration for students.
“They don’t necessarily take these skills and open up their own business,” Howell said. “Our everyday lives contain business.”
This year, Caldwell High School began offering principles of business and business economics, two of the six classes that make up the full course. The program was designed by MBAResearch — a nonprofit that provides instructional support for business administration educators. It costs $2,500 a year, which Caldwell High School is paying through the career and technical education fund, according to Schneiderman.
Students can get four credits per class at Treasure Valley Community College for taking either principles of business or business economics.
According to Schneiderman, Caldwell High is also working with Boise State University to get the High School of Business classes accepted for credit there as well.
“Boise State will happen, we’re just waiting until we’re further down the road,” Schneiderman said.
BSU offers dual enrollment credits to students who finish the program at Mountain View. Fabiola Juarez-Coca, director of concurrent enrollment at Boise State, said students who go through the program are better prepared for college and have better insight about where they’d like to work.
“These students have self-selected to be in this business class. (The classes) start out as career exploration and expectation,” Juarez-Coca said. “Then they start doing the actual content. They find out they like it and at the end they get really good life skills in general.”
Dual enrollment credits don’t cost students anything, Schneiderman said. Funding for credits — each one costs roughly $60 — comes from the Fast Forward program, funded by the Idaho Department of Education.
After the program is fully implemented, Caldwell High School will also offer classes in marketing, finance, management and business strategies.
The program is tiered, requiring students to take principles of business and business economics before enrolling in the other classes.
“Part of building the program is we have to start filling the seat early. This year with being brand new, we opened it up to any student who wanted to take the class,” Schneiderman said.
Caldwell High School business education teacher Dee Winegar teaches business leadership, which includes a service learning project for students.
“I think the school is seeing the value of having this type of class,” Winegar said. “It teaches a lot of good life skills for these kids.”
Caldwell High School senior Amy Barnhart took principles of business last semester. She said the class gave her a good foundation for understanding the business world.
“I didn’t realize there were so many other jobs out there and how much you could do in a business,” Barnhart said.
Barnhart said she wasn’t sure she wanted to go into business, but she found what she learned to be helpful regardless.
Schneiderman said he hopes to use the school to teach students that there is business in everything.
“Even if you’re not the owner or manager, you’re still part of a business,” Schneiderman said.