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School Store Builds Student Skills

Kelloggsville Middle School sixth-grader Marissa Williams counted out change for her peers as they purchased lollipops, pencils and candy.

It was her shift running the school store with several of her classmates. Staffed by mostly special education students, the store raises money for the students’ annual trip to Craig’s Cruisers and teaches them valuable business skills.

Marissa said she enjoys the work, right behind the candy counter.

Special education teacher Marcia Cisler said the 50 students split shifts throughout the week during lunch.  They learn money concepts, like how to make change, help to make bank deposits, and are in charge of ordering and stocking the store.

Perhaps more importantly, running the store requires students to communicate.

“It’s kind of helped them come out of their shell,” Cisler said of some students, who rarely communicated with others before working there.

The store, located in a room inside the middle school, is stocked with Kelloggsville Rockets gear, like sweatshirts and T-shirts. It is open to the public during special events and conferences or on a drop-in basis. Everything is priced under $20.

The store was originally run by a paid staff, until several years ago when Cisler asked to use it as a way to teach money skills.

“This would be a way for us to help our kids,” she said. “From there it just blossomed.”

Sixth grade special education teacher Denise Burns said her students enjoy their Friday shifts.

“They take pride in it. All of them would work every Friday if they could.”

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Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is associate managing editor and reporter, covering Byron Center, Kentwood, Wyoming and Grand Rapids Community College. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013 and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio

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