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Carmel Education Foundations Sends All 5th Graders to JA BizTown

For the next three years, Carmel Education Foundation is partnering with Junior Achievement (JA) of Central Indiana to send all Carmel Clay Schools (CCS) fifth-grade students to JA BizTown through the newly announced ACHIEVE initiative. Previously, the financial obligation was absorbed by either the school, parent-teacher organizations, or families, hence only half of the 11 elementary schools in the district participated. Now, every fifth-grade student will have equal access to this unique learning opportunity.
In the JA BizTown simulated city, there are 15 businesses that represent all aspects of free enterprise including governance, banking, health, utilities, industry, entertainment, and more. While there, students get to be “an adult for a day,” including learning how to balance their income with necessary expenditures such as taxes and purchases, how to work together as a community, and the functions of business.

Over the next three years, the ACHIEVE initiative will also support sending eighth-grade students to JA JobSpark, a hands-on career exploration fair that allows students to learn what skills are needed for jobs that are available in today’s world, especially those that are in demand in Indiana. Additionally, high school students will have the opportunity to engage in a JA 4E Fair, which highlights post-secondary options, including education, employment, enlistment, and entrepreneurship.

Dallas Shelby, CEF President, says “This is why we are here. To connect our students with opportunities from our community so that everyone benefits and we go further together.”

The CEF executive director, Jennifer Penix, worked closely with Dr. Amy Dudley, CCS Assistant Superintendent, and Jennifer Burk, President and CEO of Junior Achievement to create the ACHIEVE initiative, which is possible because of the success of CEF’s Ghosts and Goblins 5k/2k race in October and the Taste of Carmel in March, as well as investment from community partners in support of
expanding the impact of CEF to engage more students.

Dr. Dudley says “Being able to integrate Junior Achievement curriculum that meets our state standards in multiple areas is an essential part of this endeavor. Most importantly, providing the opportunity for more than 1,500 students to be fully engaged in both JA BizTown and JA JobSpark in 2022-2023 elevates the learning opportunities for our students, further preparing them for their own future success. We appreciate that the foundation has been instrumental in this partnership.”

Every six years, CCS examines curriculum in particular disciplines. Much of the JA curriculum that will be included in the classroom relates to social studies for elementary and middle school grades, and business and social studies in high school, all of which have recently been or are currently in their respective evaluation phases, hence the timing is perfect for implementation.

Jennifer Burk shares, “Creating this opportunity for Carmel Clay students to engage with Junior Achievement in elementary, middle, and high school allows them to experience the full continuum of the rich history of success of JA programs. We aim to inspire each
individual to find a career path that best aligns with their skills and interests and we know that these young people are the future of our cities, state, and nation. We are thrilled to work together with the leaders of Carmel Clay Schools and Carmel Education Foundation.”
CEF welcomes community businesses who want to be part of the ACHIEVE initiative, either through financial investment or by supporting schools with volunteers. Please contact Jennifer Penix, CEF Executive Director, for more information at jpenix1@ccs.k12.in.us.

Carmel Education Foundation
One of the oldest foundations of its kind, the Carmel Education Foundation was created to help Carmel Clay students achieve their full potential. Since 1966, the Foundation has awarded over $2,100,000 in college scholarships to Carmel High School seniors and over $850,000 in education grants to inspire lifelong learning for Carmel Clay students. The Carmel Education Foundation is governed by a volunteer board of directors who give their time and energy to accelerate the Foundation’s mission by funding grants, awarding more than 80 scholarships annually and expanding resources for Carmel Clay Schools.