By Kate Hill
Last month, the Business Teachers Association of New York State (BTANYS) announced Cazenovia High School Business Teacher Christina New as the recipient the 2019-2020 Department of the Year Award.
According to a Sept. 9 BTANYS press release, the Cazenovia High School Business Education Department was selected based on “exemplary evidence” in such areas as specialized courses, work-based learning, and college credit.
“As a winner, Cazenovia High School is a representation of outstanding and meritorious contributions for the development and advancement of business and marketing education,” the press release said. “The department continues to use innovation and relevant topics to entice students to pursue the world of business.”
New graduated from Cornell University and resides in Cazenovia with her husband Ben — the district’s director of curriculum and instruction — and three children.
Prior to becoming a teacher, New worked for several years as a business development manager. She has taught at Cazenovia High School for 15 years and introduced several new classes, district events and programs.
The business department offers a wide range of classes, including career & financial management, accounting, personal business & finance, 21st century leadership, sports & entertainment marketing, entrepreneurship, intro to keyboarding, and a new Work-Based Learning (WBL) program that provides eligible seniors with the opportunity to work in local businesses as part of an elective class.
Students in the business department can earn up to 11 free college credits.
According to New, a large number of her students have gone on to pursue business majors in college.
She believes that part of what sets Cazenovia’s business department apart is its emphasis on real-world learning.
“[My classes] partner with many local businesses and organizations and host events [like] Shark Tank Night, Mad City, Community Dodgeball, and the Mr. Caz Pageant to incorporate real-world learning all the time,” she said. “I have an advisory board of professionals that meet a few times a year to help guide the Work-Based Learning program.”
This semester, the pilot WBL program has student placements at Cazenovia Equipment Company, Inc., Upstate Animal Clinic, Ginger Wood Works, Cazenovia College, and Cazenovia Middle School.
“Our community is amazing and so many local businesses have offered to be a part of the program,” said New.
Despite the new restrictions associated with COVID-19, New plans to continue to lead a robust and innovative program.
“Some of the Work-Based Learning placements are on hold due to COVID and many of the field trips and big events that we usually run are canceled,” she said. “However, we are getting creative. The kids are resilient and, just like true entrepreneurs, we are shifting gears and making it work.”
The Business Teachers Association of New York State provides networking, support, and professional growth opportunities for its members in an effort to “effectively educate today’s students for tomorrow’s global economy.”
For more information, visit btanys.org.