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by Ashley Greenway
Elm Street Elementary School, Rome, GA


by Audrey Reimer
Real World Scholars

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May 15, 2017
First Graders Run Their Own Business

by Ashley Greenway
Elm Street Elementary School, Rome, GA

by Audrey Reimer
Real World Scholars

Meet Ashley Greenway! Ashley is a 1st grade teacher at Elm Street Elementary School in Rome, GA. With the support for Real World Scholars, Ashley and her students have been running Sugar Kids Beauty for the past two years. Sugar Kids Beauty (SKB) produces and sells sugar scrubs and bath sprinkles. The 1st graders run the entirety of the business, which includes marketing, shipping, and creative teams. Students craft their own social media posts, grow their own herbs, distill their own essential oils, and calculate profit margins.

Ashley incorporates all subjects and standards into the business – art through marketing, geography through shipping, math through accounting. Since the business was founded in 2015, SKB has earned more than $30,000 in profits and students have strategically directed those funds back to community causes that they care about. On Twitter, follow Ashley Greenway (@greenway_ashley) and Sugar Kids Beauty (@SugarKidsBeauty).

Here’s what Ashley had to say about her experience: 

People often say that 1st graders can't do PBL or run a business, what do you think of that?
Unfortunately, many people limit what young students are capable of achieving. Learning how to think critically, collaborate, and communicate are essential to success for any person. Instead of limiting students because of their age, foster students’ innate curiosity and provide them the tools and resources to be successful in multiple pathways.

How has Sugar Kids Beauty transformed your classroom?
SKB is a program that transcends the four walls of a classroom. Working alongside partnering industry professionals at both Elm Street Elementary School and various community sites, our students are valued members of an innovative educational ecosystem. Students are eager to explore ways to create new products and investigate and share new ideas.

How has Sugar Kids Beauty transformed your role as the teacher?
SKB has shifted traditional thinking from “How do we engage students?” to “How can we empower students?”. One of my favorite examples of this was a student who was initially too timid to speak to others because of a speech impediment. Over the course of the year and through opportunities presented by SKB, he developed confidence and became our top salesman! Empowering students to be their best selves engages them in learning in a unique way and enrolls them as stakeholders in their own educational journeys.

Additionally, running an EdCorp has transformed my role as an educator into a co-learner. As educators, we must shed traditional roles in order to embrace the role of being a facilitator of an integrated spiral approach to learning rather than teaching unit-by-unit. Teaching through an entrepreneurial lens, students benefit from cross-curricular multi-faceted approach to literacy through PBL, STEAM and applied learning.

How has starting an EdCorp promoted a more equitable learning environment?
Cultivating the community of support that encompasses our students' school and home life is critical to progress. There is something magical that happens when the community believes the idea that we are all in this together and that they can have an active role in the education of young people. Reciprocally, students are using profits from their businesses to identify and addressed needs in their community. Through these rich experiences in the community and at school, our students are empowered agents of change and champions of their own education.

Real World Scholars is a nonprofit that supports real-world learning through entrepreneurship in classrooms across the country. Follow along on twitter with Real World Scholars (@RWScholars) and EdCorps (@EdCorps).

Also, join us in celebrating student and teacher entrepreneurs during National EdCorps Week. Follow along at #EdCorpsWeek and learn more at www.realworldscholars.org/edcorpsweek.


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