Getting Started

The following suggestions are intended to help you get off to a good start with a class that includes a DCA course.

When a school district partners with the Diamond Council of America, high schools in the district may use DCA courses in their already-established curriculum. A qualified teacher must first complete a course. Then she/he may use it as a supplement in one or more established school courses. There are many ways in which this can be done. The points below are examples of current implementation modules.

For more detailed suggestions, click here.

Important Note: DCA materials are not a substitute for approved school district curriculum. They are intended to be a supplement and offer extended learning opportunities.

Suggestion 1: Choose the course you are going to use.

DCA currently offers four courses for use in high schools:

Course Offerings

Detailed course descriptions are in DCA’s Education Catalog. You can find this on the DCA website at

Suggestion 2: Complete the course yourself.

To start the enrollment process, contact DCA Education Supervisor Kristen Scheetz at:

Phone: (615) 385-5301
Toll Free: (877) 283-5669

You can fill out and submit the enrollment application electronically. Be sure to indicate the course in which you wish to enroll.

Suggestion 3: Develop the class schedule for DCA course lessons.

Plan which DCA lessons you will cover during which months of the school year. This will help you coordinate the DCA material with your existing curriculum and with other class components. Effective scheduling strengthens the relevance of both the DCA lessons and the established curriculum.

Be sure to take into account vacation breaks and school-wide testing dates, as well as other specific events or busy periods. Many teachers arrange their schedules so that all DCA coursework will be completed before the final month of the school year, because that month tends to be filled with other activities.

For examples of DCA lesson scheduling, see Suggestion 3 here.

Example Course Schedule

Suggestion 4: Know key features and benefits of using DCA courses.

In order to recruit students for a class in which you will use a DCA course, you need to know and understand the features and benefits of this approach.

  • Courses and Support
  • Industry Certification
  • Graduate Database

When you explain it well, industry certification can attract students to a class that uses a DCA course. For example, you might tell students that if a jewelry store owner or manager is considering two applicants for a position, and one of them has earned her/his DCA certification, the jeweler is likely to choose the applicant with the recognized industry certification (other factors being equal).

Key Features

Suggestion 5: Recruit students – actively and imaginatively.

Start recruiting students well in advance. Choose your messages carefully and use a variety of media to deliver them.

The first year is critical. It’s also the hardest from a recruiting standpoint. When you’re launching a class that uses a DCA course, students won’t be familiar with it. You need to build their interest. In following years, word-of-mouth among students and teachers will help you fill classes.

  • Timing - It’s best to begin your recruiting about a year in advance.
  • Motivations - Try to identify motivations of the students you hope to recruit.
  • Media and Formats - Use all the media and formats that are available to you.
  • October – Create a press release about your class and place it in the school newspaper and Facebook page.
  • November– Attend a PTA meeting and inform parents about the exciting opportunity a class using a DCA course represents.
  • January through August – If school policy allows, send emails or tweets to students who have signed up for the class.

When recruiting students, choose your messages carefully.

For a document you can use to build student interest, see Jobs & Salaries(pdf).

Suggestion 6: Become familiar with the Teacher Support tools.

Go through the menu items along the left side of the Teacher Support page – Progress Reports, Guest Speakers, Educational Videos, and so forth. Find out what’s in each section and think about how you can best use it in your class. Review the menu selections periodically to ensure that you’re aware of all the tools that are currently available to you.

Suggestion 7: Schedule Industry Guest Speakers.

After you’ve worked out your DCA course lesson plan and begun your recruiting efforts, it’s time to start thinking about guest speakers – whether or not you want them, how many you’d like to have, how and where to find them, etc. The Guest Speakers section of Teacher Support can help you with all these questions.

Suggestion 8: Use press releases to inform and build interest.

Under Press Releases, the Teacher Support menu includes templates you can use to announce a class that uses a DCA course, the appearance of a guest speaker, or completion of the program. These will help you with recruiting and building interest throughout the year.

Suggestion 9: Plan additional class activities.

A big part of the value – and fun – of your class may come from extra activities it encompasses. Be sure to include these in your planning.

The Activity Guides section of Teacher Support has a selection of projects you can adapt or use “as is.” DCA course lessons also have directed learning exercises that are related to the lesson subject matter. These were originally designed for use in retail jewelry stores, but with a little thought and imagination you can make many of them fit the resources available to your students.

Other possibilities for class activities include assigning students (or soliciting volunteers) to prepare vocabulary lists and quizzes for course lessons, or to monitor TV or the Internet for programs that are related to subjects the class is studying.

Course Activities

Suggestion 10: Share your suggestions for success.

As you gain experience with classes that use DCA courses, you’ll develop ideas, approaches, and techniques of your own. If you would, please share these with DCA and your colleagues. You can do this by sending messages via Contact Us on Teacher Support. Then you’ll help to make the program better for other teachers and students.

Share your ideas with DCA and your colleagues.

Additional Documents