Wayne County Middle School students who are participating in the Cardinal Spirit Store are learning what it feels like to run a small business.
Not only that, they are the backbone of the school’s student incentive/reward plan because the entire business is operated with Cardinal bucks, which students have earned. Therefore, no cash is exchanged.
The school staff participate by awarding Cardinal bucks to students for exhibiting monthly favorable character traits or other positive behavior. Then students can go to the store and buy $1, $5, $10, and $20 school supply items.
The Cardinal Spirit Store staff are very excited about the new mock business. The teenage employees interviewed for the job after filling out a WCMS Reward Store Application. After being hired, each student is trained in customer service etiquette and store paper work. Students are assigned to jobs in the small business ranging from advertising to ordering to stocking to tracking to balancing to cashiering. There is even a position for writing an operations manual. The payroll deals in Cardinal Bucks.
Students learn to balance the drawer, give back change, and respond to a rude or crabby customer –valuable lessons in working with the public.
Sixth grader Lorien Anderson said, “We make posters for the store.” She and a couple of friends worked together after school designing colorful signs that attract customers to the store located in the upstairs eighth grade hall in room 200.
“We sell a lot of erasers, pencil sharpeners, folders, snacks, and stuff to decorate your locker,” explained Lorien, as she busily worked on another poster to put in the cafeteria after already hanging four in the atrium.
Sixth grader Bella Snow said she is having fun helping with the advertising and making posters. “I like doing crafts,” she explained.
“Close to 100 people applied for jobs in the store,” said WCMS Teacher Maria Miller, who was at the store preparing for their first staff meeting, as students bombarded her with questions. As she multi-tasked in the upstairs classroom store, assisting students, she explained that the staff would get experience in a variety of skills because the jobs are rotational. That afternoon’s lesson was focused on creating their manual. “It teaches them ethics and makes them employable,” stressed Miller.
“It is such a privilege to be with Ms. Miller and have a school store,” said sixth grader Jorden Watson. She enjoys working at the store because she gets to figure out what is in stock and she knows her way around the store so she can make wise purchases.
Tyler McGuire is an organizer, so he was busy stocking the shelves. “I enjoy this because I can see how I might possibly meet new friends,” he said.
Eighth grader Sierra Brummett was managing the shift managers. Cameron Beagle shares management responsibility with her. “This is my first job and it will get us ready for a (real) future job.”
“It gives us experience,” declared Hailey Foster.
Sixth grader Adysen Orr added, “I like to work….I might like to own a store someday.”
“They (the school staffers) all take it so seriously,” said Miller. “They’ve exceeded all our expectations as far as being excited about the program.”
“The 21st Century program is a natural companion for this program. In fact, it could even be offered as a full time class. Ms. Kidd has been gracious enough to partner with Ms. Sharon Hill and I,” said Miller. Hill, the school media specialist shares supervision responsibilities and has a cart in the library with the store supplies two mornings a week before school starts. The store is only opened on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and after school, as well as during 7th period when the two sponsors can be there to supervise the operation.
The cart is completely run by the students, according to Hill. “They get the cart out, they count down their ‘cash’ drawer before they begin selling. They tally what they have sold as they sell it, and they count the cash drawer down at the end and make sure the cash matches the amount of items sold. They have a form to keep all this information on for each shift.”
The students are learning the book keeping side of having a store as well as the customer service side.
“They analyze what sells and what doesn’t and have requested that the price for some items be lowered in order to sell them. They will be the ones to make future orders for our store,” said Hill.
When the customer lines get too long, the young entrepreneurs have found ways to hurry students along by asking how much money they have to spend and showing them what we have in their price point.
“I have been amazed at how much they’ve learned and how much responsibility they are willing to take on,” said Hill. “To watch them run that store with very little help from me makes me proud to have given them the opportunity.”
The students take a lot of pride in earning Cardinal Bucks. Miller explained that the idea for the store came out of discussions on the school culture committee. We needed something like this to provide the workers for our student incentive program. The students have taken ownership of the store and are very reliable and trustworthy.
Another benefit of the store has been the convenience of using Google software where the staff is able to keep track of their paperwork, making it easier to communicate. “It’s helping me as a teacher become better acquainted with Google,” said Miller. “We can work from home and share documents.”
The two educators’ skills complement each other as they collaborate on this project. “I am more about seeing the big picture and thinking outside the box, where Ms. Hill is more detail oriented and tech savvy,” said Miller. In fact, Hill is the school district’s first Google Level I Certified educator, which says a lot about her advanced computer skills.
Sixth graders Adysen Orr, Bella Snow, and Lorien Anderson grabbed some supplies for their advertising efforts
The advertising department lays out the design for a poster
Customer Matthew Bogucki paid for an item with the Cardinal Buck he handed cashier Kelsey Patton, while Jorden Watson waited on customers.
Teacher and Store Advisor Moddie Miller helped student employees (l-r:) Jeremiah Criswell and Cameron Beagle count their drawer closing out their Cardinal Bucks for the day.
Hailey Foster helps create a halloween themed poster advertising the holiday themed merchandise at the store.
Tyler McGuire packages store items
Jalie Poore and Sierra Brummett worked together in the store
Student Alyssa Beagle had a look at the books for sale
The small toys at the store are popular for students to purchase; some the merchandise has been donated by WCMS teacher
Teacher Moddie Miller discusses the store manual being written with Jalie Poore