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Lights On Marketplace

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Lights On in Lander

Linda Barton

Fremont County School District #1, C/O Starrett Junior High–863 Sweetwater
Lander, WY 82520



Activity Description

Elementary School students‚ Grades K-6‚ participate in before and afterschool "Power Hour" (homework help) with a focus on reading‚ math and language arts. By participating a minimum of three times a week‚ they receive "Lights On Bucks." At the end of each month‚ we operate a "Marketplace" where the kids can buy goods from the Lights On Mercantile‚ Lights On Bistro‚ etc. They receive their "Bucks" by going to the Lights On bank branch located in their school. Taking this one step further‚ we have partnered with First Interstate Bank in Lander to offer to open free savings accounts with $1.00 for all students who participate in the Lights On Power Hour. We are calling it "Lights On Power Hour Club." We have moved from Lights On Bucks to real money‚ hoping to connect the relevance of positive performance to positive rewards.

Number of Students Involved in This Activity: Around 150 (Mon. - Thurs. before and after school)

Range of Student Ages: Kindergarten to sixth grade

Duration of Activity: One hour and 45 minutes each day

Relevant Contextual or Demographic Information: Includes three elementary schools Kindergarten to sixth grade each day.

Academic ContentWhat is the academic content of this activity? Math
The focus of this program is two-pronged‚ with emphasis on math and language arts. The connection is to the Power Hour homework help time whereby students get their homework done and get rewarded with the Lights On bucks and ultimately a trip to Marketplace and the bank! The students themselves manage the Bistro‚ Bank‚ and Mercantile; by providing them an applied learning approach to math‚ they see the connection of the real world to the math and the benefits of saving. They will see how the bank operates to manage money and why math and language arts are essential.

Strong RelationshipsHow does this activity create strong relationships?
This project has been a complete success in terms of bringing the community into the schools. Having a business as a partner in the business of education forms a bond between the youth and the adults who will act as their mentors. It will give the children a chance to interact with adults to learn and understand what the world is like outside of their own frame of reference. Giving children this kind of opportunity also encourages communication between adults and students to develop lifelong relationships and good memories. Moreover‚ it provides positive reinforcement of adult behaviors and role modeling.

Decision MakingWhat opportunities are there for authentic decision making?
Once the children have obtained their real savings accounts‚ they will become empowered to learn more about essential financial processes. The hope is that this will encourage them to save their money as they get birthday and holiday gifts‚ as well as earning money through part-time jobs. By having access to their "personal banker‚" they will feel more comfortable asking questions about how bankers operate and other real world situations.

Student LeadershipWhat student leadership opportunities are there?
Particularly during our monthly Marketplace‚ we "hire" our older students to manage the Bistro‚ Banks‚ and Mercantile. They learn the necessary soft skills required in any workplace situation and are able to help the younger ones with making change‚ and in general‚ mentoring them as well. It is a win-win situation. We also offer an "hourly" wage by giving them Lights On bucks as payment‚ and we offer discounts to the employees for their own purchases. Just like in the real world.


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