A school-based business at J.C. Booth Middle is helping eighth-grade students with disabilities learn important social skills for their transition to high school and eventually the workforce.
Triad program teachers Tracy Arnold, Kendra Woods and Erin Hodges came up with the idea to start a school-based business as a way for students to put what they are learning in class to use in a realistic setting.
“The students are taught valuable social skills that are important for real-life in a classroom setting, but never really are given the chance to practice what they have learned. A school-based business is a safe and accepting environment for the students to practice their social skills,” said Arnold, the lead Triad teacher at Booth.
The business, Tribal Treats, sells food items at after school events. The students are selling “Sno-Kones” throughout September and October, and then plan to offer popcorn in November and December, nachos in January and February, and cotton candy in the spring.
The students spent about six weeks preparing to start the business by discussing and role playing the personal communication skills presented in the book “Smile and Succeed for Teens,” by Kirt Manecke, which explores the skills needed for face-to-face communication. Additional time was devoted to creating the business, learning to operate the Sno-Kone machine, and figuring out how each student could use his or her special talents to best help the business succeed.
All of the preparation and organization has paid off. The students raised nearly $300 in just one week, working two events. The proceeds will be used to cover the cost of operating the business, and what is left over will benefit the school’s Positive Behavior Support (PBS) program.
“As sales of the Sno-Kones wrap up in the next several weeks, the students should have made enough money to purchase all of the needed supplies for the next Tribal Treat they will be promoting,” said Arnold.
Through the PBS program, all students at the school can earn “Booth Bucks” for following the Warrior Creed (be respectful, be responsible, and be ready to learn) along with displaying positive character traits. Students will be able to use their Booth Bucks to purchase items from Tribal Treats on selected dates. The treats cost 10 Booth Bucks, or one dollar in real bucks.