How do you make learning real for discouraged learners? This was the question Mrs. Haley asked herself as she began this career unit with her at-risk students. The project goals included:

  • giving students an opportunity to turn time and talent into money by investing in their human capital,
  • teaching students basic economic information through classroom guidance and real world experience,
  • building bridges out of poverty by showing students ways to access the American Dream and
  • involving students, family and volunteers to expand the student’s sense of community.

Student first experienced the renowned Arts and Crafts festival in the Rogers area and then started their own businesses to produce goods for their own bazaar which profited almost $2,000.

Test results indicated a 32% gain in knowledge in economic content, but perhaps the biggest indicator of gains came from student reflections.

Student reflections included:

  • Married couple with a child “Now we have money to go Christmas shopping for little Manny”
  • Unaccompanied Youth – “I made enough money to pay the electric bill before they turned it off”
  • Best salesman- “I sold out. Just imagine what I could have made if I had believed in myself more.”
  • Undocumented student “So this is how it works here. You have to work”
  • 8th grade girl “Can we do this again next year, “It’s my favorite class.”

Make learning real? Mrs. Haley, I say “Mission Accomplished!”