Jessica Lockavitch is a speech-language pathologist who runs a school store at High Horizons Magnet School is Bridgeport, CT. She took a few moments to tell us why their school store is awesome.
Tell us about your school and your school store.
We are a low income school district and our school store is run by a special group of autism students who are enrolled in a special education autism classroom in the school. The students who run the store are all 6-8 graders. 8/10 of the students have an autism diagnosis.
The school store is open every Friday and is set up in their classroom. We store our items in a storage cabinet and then set it up each week. We started our school store 4 years ago when this special classroom was placed in our school.
The school store is a perfect place to work on the students’ social communication and language goals as well as teach them life skills regarding money, finance, etc. All students have a specific job – greeter, seller, cashier (we use a real cash register) restocker, etc.
The money earned goes directly to the students in the class to help pay for the students’ field trips, school functions, etc. This is awesome because my students live in a very low income town and many need help paying for everyday items.
If someone wanted to start a school store, what's the best piece of advice you can give?
The advice I would give is first make sure you get the entire school involved. Take the time to advertise the school store at your school and to let all the staff and students know about it.
We hang posters all over the school as well as have the students go to each classroom at the beginning of the year to tell all the students about what we sell, when it is open, etc., as well as announce the school store on the loudspeaker a week before we are open for the year.
Each classroom has a particular time they can come shop which helps us keep the shopping organized. I would also say to purchase items that will sell well in your particular school/building.... know what students are willing to spend on items.
We found that having "Clearance Sales" for items that stay around a while helps clear out that merchandise to make room for other items. We also ask the students in the school what they would like us to add.