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Business is booming

First slide

Students at Bishop O’Connell High School in Arlington have launched an in-school enterprise to learn valuable business lessons. This operation is a cooperative project between the marketing class and students taking the Career Exploration class as a part of the school's expanded services for students with cognitive and intellectual disabilities. Their business is a special shop selling snacks and drinks that is open once a week during the school day. 

The first task the students undertook was coming up with a name for the organization, eventually settling on “Knights Bites.” Soon after, the group worked together to brainstorm details about the new business. They agreed that each month should have a special theme associated with it. November’s theme was “Nostalgic November,” and the shop sold items reminiscent of childhood lunches, such as Sunny D, Goldfish and Fruit by the Foot. 

December’s theme became “Delectable December,” and the menu consisted of hot chocolate, candy canes and cookies. Everything was priced at two for $1.

Before the shop opens each month, students from the marketing class create posters and distribute them around the school. In addition, the Knight Bites team works together in the days leading up to the event to promote their business by appearing on the school’s morning announcements.

With the help of peer mentors, the customer service tasks are executed by members of the Career Exploration class. They greet their customers, explain their offerings, collect money and make change. But their job doesn’t end there. After the snacks are sold, students then record financial information and count the inventory to see what products need to be restocked. 

“There are valuable social skills and communication skills needed by anyone in a work setting,” said Susan Rinaldi, director of expanded services at O’Connell. “There are organizational skills, and academic skills utilized as well.”

“The students get to see some of the marketing concepts in action — in particular, advertising, pricing and satisfying customers,” said Marie O’Malley, marketing teacher. 

So far the new store has been a hit with the O'Connell students and staff alike. “The Career Exploration students really enjoy it,” said Rinaldi. “They love the rush of students gathering in line when they first open for business.” 

 “It’s great being a part of this operation,” said Libby West, a junior in the marketing class. “I enjoyed working on menu options, which truly helps my creativity grow. This was such a fun idea,” she said.

 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019