The middle school years are pivotal in a student’s educational journey. It’s when they’re really figuring out what kind of a student they want to be, learning where their strengths lie, and beginning to get a real sense of what’s possible for the future. We know the JA program can have a strong positive impact on students during this important time– studies show that more than of 70% of middle school students who participate in JA programs report that JA motivated them to work harder to achieve educational and work goals. Middle school students also understand more about personal finance, business, and economic concepts after participating in JA programs. That’s why we decided to find out what it would look like if we went big– really big– in one Lincoln middle school.
Lefler Middle School is participating in a JA pilot program this school year, with more than 750 6th, 7th, and 8th graders receiving the JA curriculum in one or more classes. A program this big takes a lot of man-power which is why we’re so grateful that Tabitha Health is our generous partner in this initiative, providing many of our classroom volunteers.
Lefler 6th graders are participating in JA during their social studies classes. They’re experiencing the JA It’s My Business! program, which encourages students to use entrepreneurial thinking as they explore higher education and career choices. Students participate in fun, challenging activities such as an entrepreneurial quiz game, completing a blueprint for a teen club, participating in an auction of businesses, and creating entrepreneur profile cards.
7th graders are receiving JA curriculum in both social studies and language arts classes. In social studies, the JA Global Marketplace gives students an opportunity to experience the worldwide interdependence of producers, consumers, and the global workforce by playing the role of business owners and managers at the international Free Trade Market. In language arts, 7th graders participate in JA It’s My Future. This program provides practical information about preparing for the working world while still in middle school.
8th grade students are participating in JA in both social studies and business classes. In social studies, they get to experience JA Economics For Success. As students grow more aware of the skills, interests and values that will be the foundation for their career and lifestyle choices, JA Economics for Success harnesses this curiosity with activities that connect personal finance with education and career choices and relates these to making informed financial decisions, regardless of income. In their business classes, 8th graders participate in JA Finance Park Virtual. Students leave behind their lives as middle school students and take on a career with a salary, family, and financial obligations. In this hands-on computer simulated “mini-city,” students make the same spending decisions that their families make each month, learning about owning their financial success as they are inspired to think carefully about their future and their choices in life.
We’re already seeing great things from our Lefler students, and we can’t wait to see what else they’ll accomplish this year!