The students at Northwest Local School District (NWLSD) are going above and beyond to give back to their community. This year, Struble Elementary, Taylor Elementary, and Pleasant Run Elementary donated a total of $1,171 to the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and the American Red Cross, through the Susan Sargen Student Enterprise Program (StEP). Struble’s contribution was the largest of any participating school in the Cincinnati area.
“The StEP program is a nationally recognized elementary school program that has shown a marked increase in student engagement, attendance, self-esteem, academic achievement and also increases educator effectiveness,” said Erin Harris, Director of the StEP program. “StEP addresses two key educational needs at an early age: the need for classroom engagement and the need for 21st century skills related to entrepreneurship, critical-thinking and financial responsibility.”
NWLSD began as a StEP program participant six years ago through their partnership with the University of Cincinnati’s Economics Center. Students within the program earn school currency for positive behaviors such as completing homework assignments, arriving at school on time, striving towards academic achievement, practicing good behavior, etc. Students have the opportunity to earn up to $15 a day and can use their earnings to purchase school supplies and other items from UC’s on-site store. Students can also choose to save their dollars until the next quarter or donate their dollars towards a charity that is selected by each individual school. UC’s Economic Center then works with private businesses to turn the school currency into real money. This year, Struble donated a total 60,700 points, which equaled $607.
For the Principals, the opportunity to partner with the University of Cincinnati’s Economics Center has been beneficial to NWLSD students in various ways. For Karen Grayson, Co-Principal of Struble Elementary, the benefits are innumerable. “Our students benefit from the program in so many ways. It offers our students the opportunity to learn about the importance of giving back, encourages them to apply their mathematical skills in everyday learning, and it allows the students to obtain additional school supplies, as well as entertainment items, that they may need or desire throughout the school year,” said Grayson. “The positive aspects that come from partnering with UC are considerable, and we are fortunate to have this opportunity.”
NWLSD’s participation requires a number of volunteers in order to run things smoothly. UC’s Economic Center gathers volunteers from local businesses around Cincinnati to help students with their school currency. Al Neyer, Cushman & Wakefield, LOTH, Inc. and Allworth Financial provide business partner volunteers at the three elementary schools, along with student volunteers from the Butler Tech Financial Services Honors program.
This year, Struble and Taylor both donated to Cincinnati Children's Hospital Pediatric Cancer Research, in honor of Brody Allen. The students at Pleasant Run Elementary (PRE) donated their dollars to the American Red Cross. Their administrators remain impressed by their students’ hearts to give. “We are very proud of our generous students who are always looking to help others,” said Jemel Weathers, Co-Principal for PRE. “Their knight shields shine bright, they look good and do good all while improving their academic knowledge.”