Enterprise America... What is it?
WCNY’s Education Center is home to Enterprise America, an exciting hands-on co-curricular program for middle-school students. The first of its kind in New York State, the program involves a minimum of three weeks of classroom instruction, with teachers using dynamic curriculum aligned to state and 21st century learning standards provided by WCNY. Following the completion of classroom study, students embark on the Enterprise America experience, spending a day in WCNY’s Enterprise America city, which they are responsible for operating. It’s genuine 21st century education. The curriculum integrates different subjects: it’s aligned to the Common Core; it uses technology; it’s connected to the real world; it’s shown to improve test scores; it’s easy to teach; and students enjoy participating. There is no school that is too large, too small, too under, or too over achieving, that they can’t benefit from this experience. There are so many positive outcomes!
Enterprise America is a hands-on applied math, language arts, social studies, civics and financial literacy program which offers a great way to deliver the FACS Standards in a STEM-oriented way. This hands-on learning experience reinforces key school curriculum areas and covers Common Core requirements in Math, Science, Language Arts, Civics, Social Studies, Economics, and Technology Skills. Following the 4.5 5 hour experience in WCNY’s Enterprise America city, there is a post-experience curriculum that encourages students to analyze their business operations and their own individual job performance, as well as work with data generated in the city. Pre and post program components are also provided to aid in student assessment.
Once in the city, students will apply the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and financial and civic literacy skills they have learned to run the city’s 14 businesses and City Hall. The students become business entrepreneurs and employees, consumers and citizens. They enact laws, elect a mayor and judge and decide whether or not to purchase employee medical insurance. The business owners visit the Enterprise America credit union to apply for loans to launch their “start-ups” while other students manufacture goods, such as pens, and offer services, including website design. Some students will become accountants, preparing invoices and paying bills; others will calculate energy usage in the city’s businesses and explore alternative energy sources, write stories and take photos for the city’s newspaper, and prepare orders and deliver supplies throughout the city. All the student employees will complete wellness surveys, cast votes on a real voting machine and oversee personal and business financial spending.
Students eat their lunches and purchase, with Enterprise America dollars they have earned, healthy snacks on their breaks in the Enterprise America café. They may shop in the city’s retail businesses, contribute a portion of their salaries to charity and experience the dangers of texting while driving in simulators in the automotive center. It’s a business-to-business economy, where each student-run company strives to generate enough revenue to pay off its business loan. Students are involved and engaged. They communicate, collaborate and problem solve. In Enterprise America’s real-world, hands-on learning environment, students do the work, make the decisions and learn what careers may demand of them when they enter the workplace. By putting into practice the skills that 21st century businesses expect employees to possess, students realize the importance of staying in school for long-term success.
Scheduling is arranged through the O²CM BOCES School Library System.
For any additional information, please contact WCNY at 315-453-2424 or visit the website at http://www.wcny.org/education/enterprise-america/