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Partners in Education: Granite goes to JA City

Jeannine Huenemann


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Students benefit from JA City partnership.
Granite Park Junior High students visited Junior Achievement City to apply the personal finance skills that they learned in their AVID classes.
Credit: Granite Park Jr High

Brody Mangum, site coordinator at Granite Park Junior High School (grant 3), shared a story about his school’s USU STARS! GEAR UP partnership with Junior Achievement of Utah. For the past couple of months, students have participated in Junior Achievement-related lessons in their AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) classes. “These lessons are specifically meant to go over finances,” said Mangum. “Budgeting, loans, working with financial institutions, and more, are a few of the things that these lessons cover.” Studying these topics has multiple goals – one: to give students exposure to concepts and vocabulary for the upcoming field trip, and two: to teach students useful personal skills focusing on what they will need to know in their life beyond graduation.

On January 28, 71 8th grade GEAR UP students got the chance to practice what they learned while visiting Junior Achievement City, an interactive learning facility at the Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum, in downtown Salt Lake City. “Students walked around and explored what was essentially a mini-city,” said Mangum. “Business names, such as Chick-Fil-A, were used in the life simulation, bringing a real-life familiarity for participating students.” Participants borrowed tablets, used props, and talked with volunteers to act out a future life, as they were given jobs, families, paychecks, and an abundance of bills that needed to be paid.

“The kindness and genuineness of all of the staff and volunteers made for an extremely successful and enjoyable trip for all,” said Mangum. “We appreciate the support that GEAR UP and our other partners have given, allowing us to provide quality programming for our students.” Junior Achievement trips are a shining example of successful programming partnerships. GEAR UP provides support in the form of AVID programming, helping to introduce AVID EXCEL to GPJH. For Junior Achievement, this support allowed more students than ever to participate in this activity. Other partners included United Way of Salt Lake and AmeriCorps, both supplying volunteers to serve as group leaders and tutors in the life simulation.

Utah State University’s STARS! GEAR UP program is a partnership model, meaning that it supports all the students in a school's grade-band from 7th grade through their first year of college. Every federal dollar that the grant receives needs to be matched by at least one dollar of state, local, or private funds in the form of in-kind or cash donations. The program is set-up this way to build buy-in and collaborate in the communities. USU STARS! supports cohort-learning, by bringing learning activities to students and helping support educational field trips and activities across the state. Stories like this highlight how schools work with a variety of organizations to build sustainability into their programs.