Ms. Nicole Karausky, our life skills teacher here at CA, was looking for a project for her students that would integrate multiple curriculum areas with a real-world context. She, together with our administrative team here at CA decided that her Life Skills class would take over our school store.

The students run the business which sells hot chocolate, brownies, assorted crackers, cookies, school spirit shirts, pencils, tablets and other school supplies. The students are in charge of keeping a tally of the supplies sold.

School-based stores offer more than just a place to shop for snacks or school supplies, however; they also boost students' academic and life skills through real entrepreneurial experience. Running the store relies on student involvement in all enterprise operations, from merchandising to maintaining the books. Students see how key decisions are made about store operations and the use of store profits.

They learn to count change, see how the percent mark-up for merchandise is determined, see how to balance books, and see how to figure out the amount of goods to buy. Students also hone collaborative, cooperative, and decision-making skills.

Here at CA, we are excited to feature our student-run store, because it not only brings together students and teachers, but has the ability to collectively blend the different aspects of the curriculum in an applicable manner. We believe that students are more excited about learning when they know they will use the information in the near future.

Emma McHale, an eleventh grader at Carbondale Area, said if her experience in the school store: " I really like baking and selling the snacks. I also like pushing the food cart around the cafeteria to sell our home baked goods. I’m learning a lot about money and finance and inventory.”