Green Street Market is attracting a
steady stream of customers these days -- virtually all of them
buyers, not lookers. The big-ticket items are the big sellers.
And no one can remember when anyone had a complaint about
service or the merchandise.
In-school stores, where youngsters
can purchase pencils and other supplies and, in some instances, memorabilia
with the school logo, are fairly common, but this one is
different in several respects. The most significant is that it
is part of a themed curriculum intended to give youngsters in
fourth, fifth and sixth grades a grounding in basic economics
Claymont Intermediate was established three years ago, it has
provided a variety of hands-on learning experiences in those
areas in addition to the basic subjects found in all schools.
Wilmington Trust bank, for instance, offers
you're on the staff or a customer, Green Street Market is a fun
place to learn.
student savings accounts and
Claymont Business Owners Association member firms teams with the
school on such projects as career shadowing and mentoring.
Ronni Cohen, who established the program said that there's no
trick to maintaining a high level of interest and enthusiasm with
youngsters who are directly and meaningfully involved in their
education. That it also mirrors real-life experiences contributes
The store, for
instance, is staffed by fifth- and sixth-graders who voluntarily
apply for their roles. They need two teacher references and must
be in good standing both academically and with the discipline code
to qualify. They rotate in the various jobs and the times they are
on duty. To the extent they miss any classes, they are required to
make up that work.
significant to a visitor is the fact the youngsters are vested
with full responsibility for fulfilling their store duties. Those
at the check-out counter, for instance, calculate how much the
customers owe and deduct it from vouchers they use to pay for purchases.
The system works something like a manual version of a debit card.
medium of exchange in the store is points. Those are earned
throughout the school by all students in a sort of reverse demerit
Although Cohen is
in the store when it is open -- an hour in the morning and an hour
in the afternoon on selected days -- she doesn't look over the
youngsters' shoulders while they are doing that, arranging
displays, answering customers' questions or such. It's left pretty
much up to them how they handle whatever comes up.
with regard to such matters as pricing, the students have a
significant voice in making decisions. Early on, she explains,
they catch on to the fact there is a relationship between supply
and demand. "When they see that an item is popular and
selling well, they decide it's priced too low," she said.
pens, which write with a glossy ink, are now going for 650 points,
up from 300 when they were first in stock. Halloween merchandise
is marked down. A display of holiday merchandise includes plastic
dreidels at 200 points and wood ones at 750, Christmas stampers at
300 and Santa key chains at 750.
explains that students who come in to shop must make personal
economic decisions. They have earned the points and must relate
that to how much they value items they want to acquire.
"Everything in here is about decision making," she said.
that sounds heavy, it's all a matter of perspective. The flip side
is that working or shopping in Green Street Market is fun.
Rowe said that's the main reason she took the job. "We don't
get paid -- not even points," she explains.
Taylor said that working the counter "helps me with my
math" but adds that what he likes most is that the school
store "in a way is just like Toys 'R' Us or Shop Rite and I
like to go there."
learn a lot and enjoy doing it and making decisions," said
Karen Woicekowski, a parent volunteer.