Grizzly Gear, the school-based enterprise (SBE) at Northside High School, is among 461 school-based enterprises achieving Gold Certification for the 2021-2022 school year. This is the 10th consecutive year that the SBE at Northside has achieved Gold Certification.
Grizzly Gear, a student-managed gift and apparel store, opened its doors in January 2012. It launched its website and expanded into online sales in September 2012. The program was established in 2011 as an SBE, or an entrepreneurial operation in a school setting that provides goods and services to meet the needs of the market. SBEs are managed and operated by students as hands-on learning laboratories that integrate National Curriculum Standards in marketing, finance, hospitality and management, an Fort Smith Public Schools news release said.
Small Business Operations teachers and DECA chapter advisors, Melinda Briscoe and Linda Holland oversee the program.
“The School-Based Enterprise, Grizzly Gear, is a fully-functioning store that provides students with real life work experiences. Students design, create, and sell a product while completing all the other functions of running a small business, like maintaining inventory, tracking sales and financing, keeping work spaces clean, creating and developing marketing campaigns, and more,” Brisco said.
She said that being able to achieve Gold Certification for 10 years in a row is quite an accomplishment, especially considering the challenges faced by both schools and businesses over the past two years.
Holland said she has enjoyed watching students learn and gain important life skills through their experiences in the Grizzly Gear store.
“Their ideas are phenomenal and their experience builds a stronger work ethic for their
Future,” she said.
Grizzly Gear will be recognized during DECA’s International Career Development Conference in Atlanta. Northside High School students who contributed to the certification include Ben Maurer, Alexis Register, Braden Springs and Chase Delaney.
“There is a lot that goes into the process of becoming Gold Certified. From the information we gathered about our business, we formatted it into a 25-page document and submitted it for review. While there were obstacles along the way, we produced a great finished product. The process was a good learning experience for me and my peers working on this project, and I’m thankful for the opportunity, Mauer said.
Christopher Young, chief program officer at DECA Inc., said that DECA’s School-based Enterprise Certification Program is a rigorous process designed to help members
demonstrate classroom learning in a practical, learning laboratory, and then translate that into
“These DECA members are practicing important workplace readiness skills while preparing for college and careers,” Young said.
SBEs can be certified at three levels: bronze, silver or gold. In order to apply for the certification, SBEs must submit extensive documentation that explains how the SBE demonstrates the practice of various marketing and retail standards. A review committee evaluates the documentation to determine which level of certification has been achieved.