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Opening eyes at Business Education Week

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October 19, 2016
This October, business professionals experienced first-hand look of the day-to-day lives of today's teachers and students through Business Education Week.

For two weeks, community members were involved in "Principal for a Day" and "Business Professionals in the Classroom" programs, and experienced the rigors of making sure a school is run properly, from building relationships with students to learning about the needs of schools. The week is intended to help individuals understand the complex role of the school principal and the teachers so organizations can get a perspective on the school system from within. 

The Principal for a Day program allows employees to shadow a school principal for one day. Principals discuss the challenges they face, inform the participant what students are learning and achieving, and how this directly relates to workforce development. Additionally, this gives company representatives an opportunity to see where they can become involved in education for Sangamon County. 

For Joseph Nance of Modern Woodmen of America, it was a chance to really learn about what happens during a normal school day. "It's been a very good experience seeing how things are run on the ground floor," Nance said. "Looking in, you don't realize how much these teachers do for the kids and what they go through on a daily basis. I have a whole new respect for what they do."

The Business Professionals in the Classroom program is open to all professionals and allows them to teach a lesson related to their career or assist a teacher in their daily routine. The professionals get a detailed view of how a typical classroom is managed and what teachers encounter with today's students. In addition to local businesses, Springfield School District 186, Ball-Chatham School District, and other county public and private schools in the area are involved. 

Participants have found these two programs to be very rewarding because they become aware of challenges educators face and learn about the many successes that occur in our local schools. School officials also see a major benefit in hosting the participants. Edwin A. Lee Elementary Principal Nathan Kochanowski said the program allows parallels to be made between the school and business worlds. 

"It's been beneficial, and we talked about how a lot of what we do is the same as far as managing time, how important it is to understand what needs to get accomplished each day because there are so many demands," Kochanowski said. "It's great to have someone different see what's going on in schools these days. I want participants to be aware of how hard teachers work and what is being asked of the modern teacher besides just academics."

If you would like to become involved with the Business Education Partnership of Sangamon County or next year's Business Education Week please contact Sarah Graham at sgraham@gscc.org

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