The BETA students worked hard to achieve their goal. Picture by Helen Castrejon
Charter Oak High School

An introduction to the BETA Society

The Business Education and Technology Academy, BETA, highlights the “possible career opportunities using a dynamic curriculum model focused on project-based, hands on learning.” The course has two different strands, Business Education and Digital Arts. Both programs provide a realistic experience.

“It is more of an experience than a class,” said Mrs. Camille Strycula. Any junior student is welcome to take either program.

Although the Business Education program and the Digital Arts and Design Pathway coexist, they are separate programs. The Business Education program, under the supervision of Mrs. Strycula, is a two-year program that begins junior year. It is a three-part course that begins in the fall: marketing and advertising, finance and accounting with business and entrepreneurship as capstone.

The Business Education focuses on the creation of a business idea and the follow through. Marketing and Advertising focuses on strategy and promotion techniques for one’s business. In Finance and Accounting course, two students learn about investing such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. Accounting and Personal Finance are also included and provide the students with a background of financial statements, payroll credit, retirement plans, and taxes.

The last course is the Business Management and Entrepreneurship Capstone. This course focuses on the structure of business and its daily operations.

“In all, this course encompasses all areas of business education, ethics, financial literacy, technical skills, and promotes career development,” according to the BETA website.

The achievements of the BETA students are many. The Senior Capstone entered a UCLA competition in April winning first place for the seventh year in a row. Charter Oak received a $1,000 check as a reward of the student’s hard work and to assist with the continuation of their business operation.

As for the Digital Arts and Design Pathway, it consists of four courses, with each lasting a semester.

In Graphic Arts and Design, the use of Adobe Photoshop is introduced as well as the basics of fonts, colors, and layouts. During that semester, the students will be exposed to real-world projects for webpage design and marketing industries. In Desktop Publishing, course 2, students will learn how to create vector-based drawings in Adobe Illustrator. Through Illustrator, the students will earn to “create and edit basic shapes, transform objects, work with both 2D and 3D type objects, and use colors and gradients.”

In the second half of the semester the focus will switch to Adobe InDesign. With that tool, they will be able to learn the various types of desktop publishing documents. The famous Mobile App Design begins in the fall of Senior year; it introduces the students to the basics of application programming as well as the understanding of that industry. This class will show students “how to write documented programs as well as how to test these programs before implementation.” Towards the end, students will be able to take a certification exam, and if they pass the students will be a certified mobile apps designer.

Lastly the most anticipated class of the season: Video Gaming Design. Similar to Mobile App Design, students will get an introduction to video game programming with an understanding of the legal aspects. The class will mostly focus on writing documented videos game programs. Afterwards, they will also learn how to test and implement their video game. The students will then have the opportunity to take an industry based certification exam.

There have been 11 students receiving their Mobile App Design certification and with more to come. The international mobile apps design competition can lead up to the student’s app being marketed in an major apps marketplace.

The impact of the program has been great and evolving. Charter Oak has been the only school in the area that offers the program.

“A definite bragging right” Mr. Tom Parslow mentioned.

This program has been available for ten years, and only two years ago its name changed to BETA.

“We have evolved as the years go on,” said Mr.Parslow.

Although it is set as an academic elective, this program is available to any student. Students with difficulty deciding on their future are often encouraged to take the program as it is a possibility of a career.

“We are always trying to make it bigger and better,” said Mrs. Strycula.

–Cindy Mendez