BizTown provides an amazing opportunity for students to get a real feel for how their community works together for the benefit of the residents. "Our volunteer-delivered, kindergarten through high school programs foster work-readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy skills, and use experiential learning to inspire students to dream big and reach their potential. With the help of more than 8,000 volunteers, JA students develop the skills they need to experience the realities and opportunities of work and entrepreneurship in the 21st-century global marketplace." (https://www.juniorachievement.org/web/ja-gstlouis )
Unlike most field trips, students prepare weeks in advance for their participation. We asked teachers and students to give some input about the entire process and this is what they had to say.
Mrs. Hill is the 4th grade teacher, and she says that teachers spend about 10-12 weeks preparing for the trip. They present lessons on financial literacy (checkbooks, savings, and other banking terms), community (rights and responsibilities of a citizen), work readiness (filling out a job application, interview skills, and soft skills), and business management (working in business teams to start and run a business). This all culminates in their BizTwon day where students work at their job for a day and earn a paycheck. Possible jobs include CEO, CFO, directors of organizations, principal, teachers, security, mayor, on-air talent (for radio and TV), sales associates and others! A few businesses at BizTown are Smokehouse Mrket, Print Shop, AT&T, Utilities, City Hall, First Bank, and many others. Students also get the opportunity to be consumers and spend money they earn from their jobs at the various businesses throughout their day. Kids come away with snacks, balls, toys, and stuffed animals. They can even rent a cell phone for the day from AT&T. It is such a fun experience!
She did get feedback from a couple of her students: "I thought all the businesses would be outside and it surprised me when we got there that everything was inside. I thought the whole day went very smoothly and it was the best field trip ever!" (Ariya Barton)
"I was surprised that my job included the work that it did. My advice would be to expect the unexpected because you never know what you are going to see and do until you are there." (Jack Acopolis)
Mrs. Hill and Mrs. DeSantis want to thank all the parents that come. It is a very busy day for them, but such a great experience for the kids, and one they will always remember. They appreciate the sacrifice they made in getting up early and putting in a full and busy day with them!