The Corry Area School District has canceled the annual Business Week competition, most likely for good.
After several weeks of trying to fit Business Week into the schedule, the district has decided not to host the weeklong competition sponsored by Americans for the Competitive Enterprise System.
“The school district just cannot afford to have an entire group of students out of classes for a whole week,” Superintendent of Schools Brian Dougherty said. “Business Week is an extremely valuable experience for the kids, but we have struggled for years trying to fit it into the schedule.”
During Business Week, Corry seniors are divided into teams and devote five complete school days to forming their own “companies,” making all managerial decisions, including pricing, marketing, production, research and development, and human resources.
With the help of local business leaders, the teams compete for superiority in advertising, stockholders, trade show, return on net assets and top company.
Business Week usually is held for a week during the spring, but a conflict resulted in the event be rescheduled for this week, Sept. 28-Oct. 2, which also happens to be Homecoming Week.
“It’s just not going to work,” Dougherty said.
But Homecoming isn’t the primary reason.
Dougherty doesn’t want seniors missing a whole week of classes, because they will be retested for the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment standardized tests Oct. 26 through Nov. 6.
As juniors, the students — now seniors — did not fare well in the reading and math portions of the PSSA tests, Dougherty said.
In math, only 39 percent of the students achieved proficiency. The district must reach 56 percent to be considered proficient under No Child Left Behind legislation.
In reading, only 37 percent of the students achieved proficiency. The district’s magic number for reading proficiency is 63 percent.
Simply put, Dougherty said students need to be attending regular classes to prepare for the upcoming tests.
Seniors who would have participated in Business Week and PSSA testing would have missed 15 days of class time.
“That’s three weeks without an education,” he said.
Also putting the damper on Business Week is the district’s recent switch from two 18-week semesters to three 12-week trimesters, Dougherty said. Missing one week of classes translates into students being out of the classroom for 8 percent of the trimester.
And it’s not just the business students who miss valuable learning time in class, he said. Seniors often attend mixed classes with juniors and sophomores, and when the seniors are off with Business Week, lessons are disrupted for the students left behind.
Although Business Week won’t be held as usual, Dougherty said the district has no plans to scale back the business curriculum.
“We’re not throwing the baby out with the bath water,” he said.
If anything, Dougherty hopes to strengthen the existing curriculum by establishing a 12-week seminar class in business principles. Local business leaders would be recruited for the seminar to give students hands-on lessons from professionals.
“This would give us more flexibility,” Dougherty said. “We wouldn’t have to cram it all in every day for a week like we do with Business Week.”
Dougherty also said he would like to increase the number of business instructors from two to three.
With the loss of Business Week, local business leaders who financially supported the competition would not be forgotten, Dougherty said.
“The community businesses that contributed to the program are going to get their money back,” he said. “There will be no lost money.”