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Carbondale Area life skills teacher Nicole Karausky was looking for a project for her students that would integrate multiple curriculum areas with a real-world context. She, together with the administrative team, decided that life skills students class would take over the 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.

From left, front row: Emma McHale, Sara Thomas, Nathan Cecchini, Moriah Coleman. Middle row: Isabelle Palmiter, Felix Rosario, Brandon Rosario, Blake Rude, Amber Ogonowski, Gabe Wall, Cameron Crabe and Keanna Wigfall. Back row: Ryan James, Paul Thomas, Angela Arendt, Malakai Barbini, Danillo Sonera and Michael Reilly.