WOODLAND — Woodland Middle School’s sixth-graders worked as customer service representatives, store managers, and even CEOs when they attended JA BizTown, the culmination of their financial literacy class. Students take part in a daylong visit to a simulated town developed by the Junior Achievement program.
This year marks the first visit to BizTown since 2019 due to pandemic restrictions. For Robin Uhlenkott, the Woodland Middle School teacher who teaches financial literacy, attending BizTown in person provides pivotal learning experiences for her students.
“Physically going to BizTown is everything since it’s a chance for students to use some of the skills we learn in class in a hands-on ‘real’ way,” she said. “The students were all so excited to go on a field trip since this was our first visit to BizTown in 2½ years.”
Key to making the whole day work smoothly is the close partnership between Woodland Public Schools and the adult volunteers who support the program. Around 20 parent volunteers joined the students at BizTown to help and provide guidance during the day.
“We’re so excited to have volunteers back in our schools,” said Assistant Superintendent Asha Riley. “Our dedicated parents make field trips like these possible, and we are so grateful to have such a supportive community of everything we do here to help our students experience new ways of learning.”
Prior to the field trip to BizTown, students learn about a variety of different key subjects when it comes to personal finance and citizenship in Uhlenkott’s class, including the differences between debit cards and credit cards, how to balance a checkbook and studying how interest rates and compounding interest affect loans and investments.
For Uhlenkott, teaching students how to understand their finances remains a top priority for preparing students for life after graduation.