As the 2016-2017 school year begins, new classes start with it. One of this year’s new classes was the elective, Sport and Entertainment Management. Highly anticipated, Sport and Entertainment Management has 6 classes (4 first semester, 2 second semester), each with around 27 students per class. Each class, consisting of a majority of boys, is centered around learning about the franchise project, marketing organization, venue management, financing, and intellectual property law (copyrights, trademarks, patents). The idea for this class sparked and grew from Ms. Jessica Cole, a 2nd year Business Department teacher, who believed that the Business Department needed to address the management side of the business world, specifically in the realm of Sports and Entertainment. The class is taught by both Ms. Jessica Cole and Mr. Brian Sheridan, a new addition to the LFHS staff. To find out more about the Sports and Entertainment Management class, I sat down with the Sports and Entertainment pioneer, Ms. Jessica Cole.
How was the process of creating Sport and Entertainment Management in the the Business Department? What is the biggest problem you have encountered with this class so far?
Ms. Cole takes a deep breath, reliving the hours of summer work full of planning and preparation, all riding on her past experiences in college and in her first jobs in the field.
“I had to submit a written proposal to administration and apply for workshop hours. Once granted, I worked on it for 40 hours this summer to create an outline and learning targets. The biggest problem is making all the sections cohesive.”
Why do you think Sport and Entertainment Management appeals more with boys? What would you do/say to girls interested in this class but hesitant to joining due to the lack of female presence in class? Or dropping that class?
Ms.Cole nods her head at the statement “full of boys” as she leans forward to address this big topic. Clearly passionate on wanting all people to be interested in her class.
“Well, first of all, I’m a girl who created the class so that has an appeal to girls. I also made it entertainment management, as well as sports, to make it more appealing to girls or anyone who enjoys music festivals. There are definitely more boys in the class. It is unbalanced. But I don’t think there are just boys who are there for sports, there are plenty of boys there for the music. It’s appealing to all types of people because they are given a lot of freedom with their projects, allowing them to focus on their passions. I would tell a student who is considering dropping to hang in there, we mix up groups and you can pick whatever subject you truly want to focus on. There all types of entertainment, for example, fashion.”
How can what you learn in Sport and Entertainment Management be applied to the real world?
Ms. Cole leans back in her chair, obviously confident that her class curriculum can be used beyond the four walls of her basement classroom.
“Marketing , Management, Finance, and Law apply to every industry that exists. We just focus on the sports and entertainment side of it. Anyone that has a logo or business can learn a lot from this class.”
As the only woman in the business department last year, what have you done to adapt to a mainly all boy class and staff?
Ms. Cole laughs under her breath, potentially recalling and thinking about Mr. LaScala’s friendly heckling.
“It had been talked about before the class but more from the marketing perspective, I was able to propose it from a management point. As a girl, I majored in this in college so I was not intimidated whatsoever.”
Explain what one of the days of planning for this class day?
Ms. Cole lets out a drawn out sigh, reflecting on her individual classes and their needs.
“I tend to be flexible because some projects take longer; we have a lot of hands-on working days. I try to find a lot of videos, so there’s not any lectures or out of class work. I don’t have a strict planning process, but I follow the outline I created this summer. It’s a very student-led classroom.”
How do you keep seniors engaged when they start to get “senioritis” ?
Ms. Cole laughs and shares a smirk, knowing that I am one of the many seniors who will most likely endure the classic case of “senioritis” by year’s end.
“Well, it started 2 weeks ago, but the best thing about this class is most of the time you get to pick what you’re working on. The seniors that picked this class because they are passionate about it tend to work harder. I also try to pair people together based on common interests.”
How did your previous job influence this one? How does your past in college–journalism, law, etc–help this job?
“Yes, I created this class by taking my four years of classes, assignments, and projects condensing them into one semester. My experience in the sports and entertainment business definitely helps me supplement projects with stories and definitely influences the class.”
What’s your #1 goal, Ms. Cole?
Ms.Cole pensively nods her head before she begins to answer.
“My number one goal is to allow students completely dig into what they want to dig into and learn along the way. I want it to be a creative outlet for kids.”
How do you initially set your class expectations and create a creative environment as a teacher?
Ms.Cole’s mouth grows into a clear smile, knowing this is where her class really thrives.
“Well, we start with a semester long project where they are able to pick a city, team, and festival that they want to create there. The whole time, right from the beginning, they are creating stadiums, venues, and logos. We set the creative tone right away.”
Being one of the younger teachers at LFHS, how do you feel you connect with students on a deeper level? How do students see you?
Ms. Cole laughs and tosses her head back as she assures me that there are plenty of young teachers at LFHS.
“I treat them as equals. I get to know them through one on one convos, discussions in class, and discussing current events. It allows us to explore a lot of avenues together. I think my students see me in a positive light because I truly care about each of my students deeply and I think they see that.”