Since the beginning of the school year, Upper School students at The Quaker School at Horsham (TQS) haven’t just been going to school; they’ve also been going to work to develop their workplace readiness skills through classroom instruction and hands-on experience.
The school’s new business literacy instruction and internship program is moving ninth to 12th graders through a curriculum, guided by their teachers and advisors, that is integrated with their Upper School years. The curriculum is designed to help students with complex challenges, including ADHD, learning disabilities, autism, expressive and receptive language disorders, anxiety disorders and more, develop a wide range of professional skills through educational courses and hands-on internships, which include two in-school businesses as well as work experiences with community-based business.
All four grade levels, 9-12, in the Upper School enroll in a business literacy course that provides direct instruction in the areas of daily living, self-determination, interpersonal and employment skills to help students make informed decisions about their future while acquiring important tools for success after graduation. At the end of Upper School, students will finalize a portfolio of skills and projects to share with prospective employers or post-secondary schools.
“Our business literacy initiative embraces the complex learning challenges of TQS students, providing them with the same opportunities offered at traditional schools in a safe learning environment where they can blossom to achieve personal, social and academic success,” said Alex Brosowsky, head of school at TQS. “We are a few months into the program and are overwhelmed by the positive feedback from the staff and companies involved regarding our students’ work ethic and progress.”
The curriculum begins with Business Literacy 100, a course where ninth graders identify their strengths and areas of interest. Students are introduced to the fundamentals of business by actively participating in the TQS school store, selecting product for sale, staffing the store and engaging with customers.
In Business Literacy 200, sophomores build on these skills, exploring different careers and the required education needed for those careers. Students further their understanding of managing a business by running the school’s new dog treat business.
Business Literacy 300 immerses students in mock interviews, career presentations and an off-campus internship experience. At the end of this month, juniors will begin their internship program one day a week at Weavers Way Co-op to assist with various store functions.
In Business Literacy 400, seniors participate in a part-time internship and work individually with the career and college counselor to finalize their post-secondary plans. So far, TQS students are interning with Patriot Chevrolet of Warminster, Inc. Students will conclude their senior year with a portfolio presentation to members of the TQS community.
In May, the Upper School will celebrate its first full graduating class of seniors. In addition to a graduation ceremony, TQS is planning a prom and senior portfolio presentation in spring 2023. A newer offering at TQS, the Upper School Program allows ninth to 12th graders to continue their education while transitioning to adulthood and exploring opportunities in the workforce.