CBE team proposes student-run enterprises at Central

Ronna LawlessStaff Writer

Monday night, Principal Kathy Goecke and two Central Elementary teachers presented the school board with ideas for a Bingo Night next fall.

The event would be part of the school’s CBE initiative (competency-based learning).

Goecke, second-grade teacher Catie Neuman and TLC instructor Deb Haywood are members of the district’s CBE committee. They told the board about their proposal for having student-run enterprises at Central Elementary.

Neuman explained that CBE helps provide “real-world learning” and teaches students to apply learned skills. Gearing up for implementation of CBE has been a “three-year journey” for the team, she said.

One of the focuses of Central’s CBE initiative is for students to participate in student-run businesses, where they use the reading, writing and math skills they are learning in class. “The kids really have to do it all. That’s not without adult support. But they have to make the decisions for whatever enterprise they choose,” Goecke said. “It needs to be real to them.”

At the high school, students next year will run their own spirit shop and coffee shop. There are also plans for a sign shop, now that the high school has its new welding lab in the ag-mech building.

“We feel very strongly that little kids can have a hand in enterprises that are developmentally- and age-appropriate for them,” Goecke said. “And we believe that that really starts at an elementary level.”

Students at Central have had enterprises in the past. Although those student-run businesses weren’t officially part of CBE, they would have qualified if the program had been running at the time, Neuman said.

Lil’ Cubs Bank is one of the enterprises students have participated with in the past. Fourth-graders at Central even had to fill out applications and go through a hiring process to work at the bank.

Noah’s Garden, a project for the multiage program, is a great way for students to learn real-world use of things like weights and measures, Neuman said. The Preschool Garden, which is run by Food For Thought in the summer, is also a CBE-type learning opportunity.

The Nevada Cub Pride Committee is a project Central’s third- and fourth-grade students have been working on this school year, Neuman said. The result is a collection of YouTube videos that highlight things that made students proud of themselves this year. The videos are available on the Nevada Community School District’s YouTube Channel. (You can find them easily by searching on YouTube for “Nevada Cub Pride Committee.”)

Next year, Central’s CBE team would like to gear up its plans for student-run enterprises.

Kids would need to complete a business plan and loan application, which would be repaid based on sales, Goecke said.

Goecke, Neuman and Haywood would like to hold the Bingo Night as a fundraiser to create a “Central bank” that would fund the small business loans to the students.

“We want our kids to have enterprises, but without some kind of start-up money, it’s really hard to launch those that have start-up costs,” Goecke said.

The CBE team suggested Bingo Night be held Sept. 15 from 6-7:30 p.m. The school board didn’t have the item on its action agenda, so it did not yet officially approve the event.