Tag Archives: Marketing Academy

One last time

The 19th Marketing Academy graduation was last night. Since many of the graduates had been my students in multimedia, I had promised to attend their ceremony. Terry has taken the photographs of this event for more years than I can count, so he went along, too, to record the event.

The 2011 graduates: 






Not all of the Academy teachers were present last night, but those of us who were got together for one more picture. The two ladies in the middle are retiring this year. Please note that I am NOT WEARING BLACK. When in Fresno, I wear pastels!









Another great business partner

Marketing is a little theory and a whole lot of application, and that’s how I always taught it. I gave as few lectures as possible, and used textbooks only when absolutely necessary. Instead of paper-pencil tests, my students had to actually DO something to get a grade. I called it project-based curriculum.

One of the units I taught in Marketing I was sales, and after a few weeks of learning about selling, the students had to actually “sell” an item of their choosing. In the weeks leading up to the actual sales presentation students learned how to approach a customer, question the customer about their needs, make a features-benefit sales pitch, get the customer involved with the product, ask for the sale, and reassure the customer after the purchase and invite them back. Once I felt the students were ready, I brought in REAL customers, and I just sat back and watched the action.

One particular business partner, Bennett Frost Personnel Services, always came through with a number of “customers” who would come to the classroom and go through the 40 or more sales presentations over a three day period. Cathy Frost, the owner of Bennett Frost, came onboard with the Marketing Academy just about the time she started her business and we were starting the Academy. She offered great advice, listening with sympathy to our pleas for help and always coming through with assistance like sending her employees to be customers. Some of our students got to intern in her office, and she gave guest lectures about job seeking.

When Cathy moved into bigger offices with a conference room she invited our department to meet there for planning days. She often popped in with advice and ideas for our classrooms. It helped make us better teachers. And, I hope it made our students better learners. My former students still remember those sales presentations I “made” them do.

More visitors

Shoua, Yer, and me

Over the 21 year history of the Marketing Academy, we have had many of what we call legacies, the siblings of previous graduates.  The Lor girls count as a triple legacy.  Their older sister took classes in the business department and was our department aide in her senior year.  The younger sisters came along, went through the marketing program and took off for college in the Sacramento area.  Shoua went to Sac State and Yer is finishing at UC Davis this year.  I adore these girls.  They are smart, funny, and kind.  And today they came to lunch at the tiny apartment.

We went for a walk around the neighborhood:

The Peter Pan tent

At the Levi Headquarters

And then we came back to the tiny apartment for lunch, overlooking the bay:

You can see Yer’s work at her design blog.  Shoua works for the State of California.

The last academy awards

Every month the Marketing Academy gives awards to its students for perfect attendance, good grades, improvement, and other worthy accomplishments.  At the end of the year we give pins to the juniors who have earned top leadership points and the seniors who will be graduated receive medals.  Today was the last awards’ ceremony for the year and the very last one for my career with the academy.  I have done about 120 of these.

Here are my seniors with their medals:

This group of students was my last class of sophomores, two years ago, and now my last class of seniors.  They are a very special group to me.

Look, a post about school

How is this idea of paying teachers according to test scores going to work in a middle school or high school where students have more than one teacher a day?  Will we just reward those teachers whose subjects are tested, like English and math?  What happens to the PE teacher?  The elective teacher?

My idea is to team teachers with a set of students.  It would be similar to the Marketing Academy where we have students for three years with the same set of teachers.  The cohort of teachers includes language arts, science, social science, and electives.  We could even add in PE and foreign language teachers to round out the offerings.

Then we look at the students taught by each team and see how they are doing on those test scores.  Going up, doing better, on track for graduation.  Good, teachers get a raise.  Poor test scores, failing grades, not ready to graduate.  Ok, pay cut.  I would be quite happy to teach in such an environment, but I want to pick the teachers with whom I teach.  Some teachers are great at the team concept; others are lone rangers who want to close the door and be left alone.

For 20 years our team of teachers has told our failing students in the Marketing Academy they must attend summer school and bring up their grades and keep current with their credits.  Some do; some don’t.  This year our district is mandating ALL low achieving students attend summer school.  I can’t wait to see how this works.


Do the academies get results?   A resounding YES.  As a matter of fact, the California Partnership Academies do so well with student success, that the state legislators always vote to continue the funding for the program.  We are held accountable to graduate 90 percent of the students with 95 percent attendance.  We have done that for 19 years.  The rest of the high school does not come close to those figures.

Our success with the California High School Exit Exam is also  phenomenal.  Our sophomores pass the test, first time with 90+ percent.  Last year, we didn’t do as well.  The pass rate was only 87 percent, compared to the school’s 63 percent.  Our pass rate is better than the district’s.

What we think is funny is that even our students who do not graduate with the Academy (we have some requirements) still go out and get better jobs than the average high school grad does.  They have polish, poise, and customer service skills.   Which is often a big surprise to us teachers!  They can perform when they have to.

Recruiting, part 2

Thank you, dear Reader, for taking an interest in my recruiting efforts.  I appreciate your questions, and I will update now and again.  

It rained yesterday, but I didn’t bring my raincoat, so got wet running between freshmen classrooms.  I did wear my Coach tennis shoes (to appeal to the younger crowd) so at least my feet stayed dry.  Also had a problem with some of the classes in that they had to take an OARS assessment test so there wasn’t time for my presentation in those single hour classes.  The two hour block classes were easier because the teachers gave the test the first hour, leaving time for me to do my song and dance the second half.  One teacher flat out refused to let me come in.  He is new to our campus and has a rather difficult personality so I didn’t push it.  I figure that working with freshmen and giving all these standardized tests has driven the man insane.

I took a box full of props along to get the kids’ attention.  I had a small plastic box that, when switched on, shakes and has a voice yelling, “excuse me, excuse me, can you let me out of here.”   That really got the kids looking to see what was happening.  My current students who go along pass out the paperwork that tells about what we do in the two academies and a half sheet for the students to sign up to get more information.  We try to stay no more than 10 minutes in any classroom unless there are lots of questions.

I used some products to show them what marketing is.  One is a fancy box I was mailed as a promotion for cat food.  You would never know it was for cat food by looking at it as it’s all gold and silver and has the word BLISS on it.  Not one student guessed cat food.  I then explained that is marketing.  Same with my box and other toys.  It gets your attention.  The heads nodded, the light bulbs went on.

The Marketing Academy and the Global Academy of Business are two smaller learning communities, also called school-within-a-school, in our large 2800 student population inner city school.  The students come in as sophomores and stay for three years having the same set of teachers with the same students for those years.  They bond and become a family.  We are very small with each academy having 120 students.  We can’t take every student who applies but we do take new students in the junior year because we lose some along the way.  We will finalize the application process by the end of February when the freshmen register for their classes.  I’ll give more updates at things happen.

Recruiting for next year

I will spend today in freshmen English classes trying to convince 9th graders to sign up for one of the business department’s academies.  It’s high performance for the day because I have to be enthusiastic, entertaining, and keep the discipline.  It’s a fine line.  

Yesterday I put all the props together that will grab these little critters’ attention and want them to know more about what we do.  I take some of the older Academy students along to tell the freshmen what a great time they have had in the Academies.  We only spend about 10 minutes in each class, just enough time to pique interest and get them signed up to attend another, longer meeting where we fully explain what we do. 

I’ve been doing this for 19 years so I pretty much know what will and will not work.  It’s all high energy though, so I’m going to eat a hearty breakfast, put on my most comfortable, but stylish, clothes, and go get ’em.

A little knowledge

Our school, within the business department, has a Virtual Enterprise (VE) class.  It is a great class with skills that transfer to the real world.  Students learn how to operate an on-campus business, in our case the student store as well as a photo button business, and how to set up and operate an online business in the virtual world of other VE classes from all over the world.  Students in the class (all seniors) must apply for the positions within the company and the management applicants are interviewed by faculty members.  Those chosen for the management positions in turn interview the other students who want to be employees for their departments.  These interviews take place in our department office which is connected to classrooms.

The students who are enrolled in VE come from the whole school but are mainly students who have been in the department’s two academies–Marketing and Global Business.  The students are required to take accounting and multimedia so as to be able to do the tasks required of VE.  This year, for the first time, I am teaching the multimedia classes.  In the first four weeks of school we have discussed target markets and how to appeal to them in print; we have designed a font; we have designed two club flyers in Adobe PageMaker; we have resized and manipulated photos in Adobe Photoshop and laid out a small advertising piece using the students own photos taken around campus.  We designed name badges and imported them into PageMaker for resizing.  Not a whole lot yet, but enough to keep the students hopping.

As I walked through the department office yesterday, on my way to my desk, the VE management team, many of the members whom I have in multimedia, was interviewing the underlings.  I overheard one of my students ask, “do you know PageMaker and PhotoShop?,” to which I wanted to ask, “do YOU?”  Give them a little knowledge and they think they know it all.