BPS Ignite students embedded in major retail Information Systems division.
The Ignite program at Bentonville Public Schools is a new member of the CAPS Network, first joining it this school year. The program started with a single strand and course called “IT Solutions.” This course prepares students to work in professional settings as Web application developers, covering concepts ranging from business technology to programming and database development.
So far the students in this course have created their own IT Solutions companies and developed Web sites and applications to support their entrepreneurial endeavors, and have taken on projects from several local consulting firms and businesses in the region.
One of the more exciting project teams that has been embedded in a company is a mobile app development team working with the world’s largest retailer in its Information Systems Division (ISD). These students, who come from a broad range of backgrounds, are working as an inter-disciplinary team using technology to develop a hybrid mobile app for internal use Worldwide by the company’s thousands of employees. Technologies in use by the Ignite students in this project are on the cutting edge of mobile software development in enterprise systems. The students are embedded in the ISD area, assigned to mentors employed with the company. The success seen in this project embodies the ideals of a CAP program: professional work experience in a real world environment aligned directly with the course objectives of the class and the needs of the business partner.
Students in the Ignite IT Solutions course gain many new experiences, as well as college credit for the knowledge gained in the programs. They earn six semester hours of credit, plus an additional certificate of Workplace Competencies earned through the University of Arkansas. These credentials, along with the unique professional experience they gain in the workplace, position the IT Solutions students far ahead of their high school peers. Whether they go on to continue their studies at the collegiate level or enter the workforce directly, the CAPS model has given them a huge jump start into either career track.