Business Law Students Hope to Effect Change

Business Law Students Hope to Effect Change
Posted on 12/12/2017
Business Law Students

SHS Business Law students are hoping to positively impact the student body by analyzing the current handbook to find areas of potential change. Working in groups of two to three, students selected a rule or policy to address and researched to find examples of why their desired change should happen. Focus was heavily placed on other schools that have already adopted the particular rule or policy, and often times students called and emailed the districts to help their case.

This marks the third year Hillary Hoffman, Business Law Instructor, has incorporated the value beyond school anchor task, and the results have been positive.  “The biggest success would be the change to the dress code which occurred during my first year of teaching,” shared Mrs. Hoffman.  Part of the dress code mentioned that students were not permitted to show shoulders. Many girls were unable to wear otherwise appropriate apparel, if sleeveless, due to this rule.  The change was proposed in December 2015, and was implemented for the 2016-17 school year.  Little did anyone know at the time this change was proposed, two years ago, that it would have a tremendous impact, allowing students to wear cold shoulder shirts, a popular trend today.

“Something new that we implemented this year was the assistance of teachers in other departments to help students learn more about how to conduct good, reliable research, and then how to organize this research into a persuasive speech. Mrs. Ashley Meyer and Ms. Emelia Gulck, both from the English department, presented and worked hands on with students,” said Mrs. Hoffman, adding that it was a great addition!

Business Law as a whole is designed to give students the opportunity to learn about the law, both in business and in their personal life. “The course helps students achieve an understanding of legal principles they will see throughout their lives. The use of current events throughout the semester adds to this understanding,” explained Mrs. Hoffman.  The Student Handbook Anchor Task provides a meaningful opportunity to apply their learning

The goal, from the students’ perspective, is for the rule or policy changes to be adopted for the following school year, but looking at the big picture, the process gives students the opportunity to voice their opinions in a safe environment.  Some examples for desired change include allowing snacks in school, to be eaten at times other than breakfast and lunch, as well as being allowed in areas other than the concourse and student center.  This change would be beneficial, according to the research done by Brody Brosnahan and Ashlyn and Katelyn Nissen, because they believe there will be improved performance in school, after school activities and jobs.

Haylie Peters, Shelby Bang and Maxx Higgins are working to lift specific internet restrictions for classroom use.  Key words are blocked, and when needing to conduct research for classroom projects, the filters negatively affect learning.  Their basis is to give teachers access to control the filters, lifting restrictions when it will aid in completing coursework.  The students said it would help most courses, including Business Law.   “In this class when we look up different crimes for criminal records, we sometimes aren’t able to because words are blocked,” said Haylie, citing a specific example to support their case.

Weighted grade point averages (GPAs), an issue that is gaining traction across the country, would allow transcripts to more accurately reflect GPAs for students taking rigorous coursework, such as Advanced Placement (AP) and Dual Credit courses.  After extensive research and polling over 70 SHS students who are currently enrolled in AP and Dual Credit courses, Brandon Nolin, Will Heaton and Grace Hamilton all believe that more students would be willing to enroll in challenging coursework if their transcript more accurately reflected merit and effort through weighting, rather than being fearful of the potentially negative impact the current system has on GPAs.  Brandon Nolin came up with the idea. “It has been an issue that I have wanted to address for some time, actually, because I do feel that a weighted grading system would more accurately reflect student transcripts at Spencer High School.  I’ve wanted to discuss this for a while, and I finally got the opportunity here.  It is helping with Business Law too,” explained Brandon. 

Both Brandon and Grace would benefit from the change as a current junior and sophomore respectively, but Will, a senior, believes this is important too, and he hopes to leave a legacy from which many future students can benefit saying, “For students like Brandon and Grace, who are and will be taking additional AP and Dual Credit courses, they will be rewarded for their efforts.  I know how much I would like to be in their shoes if this does get implemented.” 

Student are putting the finishing touches on their presentations and after working hard for several weeks, Mrs. Hoffman said, “The students are excited to have the opportunity to speak to professionals from within the school and community!”  Students will present their research and argue their case with various administrators and teachers, with hopes of eventually presenting to the school board.