Schools look to businesses for hands-on learning

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Local business gurus are taking their knowledge into the classroom in a new set of programs at Whitefish schools.

The Whitefish School District is partnering with Junior Achievement, a national program, to provide hands-on learning opportunities that foster financial literacy and entrepreneurial skills for students.

Programs are being offered at the sixth, seventh and eighth grade levels in Whitefish, and Business Teacher Jeanne Brist is looking for community and business volunteers to serve as mentors in the classes.

“It’s a very hands-on activity where the kids learn all the basic things about money. Check registers, how to design a business and things like that,” she said. “It’s one of those things where the earlier they learn the better.”

District Director of Curriculum Ryder Delaloye said partnering with Junior Achievement helps to bridge entrepreneurial thinking and skills with actionable programs like personalized projects or classes that will be offered in the Center for Sustainability and Entrepreneurship.

“I’m grateful to have Junior Achievement as a partner in this process, and it gives us the capacity to do entrepreneurial programming so that we can utilize our sustainability programming and our personalized projects so that students can have that entrepreneurial spirit as well as the skills and know-how to accomplish entrepreneurial endeavors,” Delaloye said.

Brist said the program is still in need of volunteers. The programs began in the first week of October and classes take place between 8:30 a.m. and 1:36 p.m.

Bringing community members into the classroom is what makes the program unique, Delaloye said.

“What I think is really important to JA is that it’s community members who are doing these things, coming into the classroom and sharing their experience and working with this amazing curriculum that allows students to relate to it,” he said.

“A lot of business people who have yielded success in their life are looking to give back, they’re looking to pay it forward,” Delaloye added.

Community members interested in volunteering can contact the Whitefish Middle School at 862-8650 or Junior Achievement Stewardship Manager Kristi Brown at kbrown@jaesterniowa.org.

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