MPS expands Junior Achievement Learning Journey for 5th graders

When she spoke at a Milwaukee Press Club luncheon yesterday in Downtown Milwaukee, Milwaukee Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Darienne Driver spoke of the many partnerships the district has with local nonprofits, trade associations and corporations.

This morning at a press conference, Driver will announce that Junior Achievement of Wisconsin and MPS are again teaming up to expand the Learning Journey for district fifth graders at Junior Achievement BizTown, at JA Kohl’s Education Center, 11111 W. Liberty Dr.

A series of grade-level experiences offered to every MPS student, created during the tenure of Dr. Driver’s predecessor, Dr. Gregory Thornton, Learning Journeys, according to the district web site, “connect MPS’ rigorous Common Core-aligned curriculum to hands-on experiences at the region’s best community learning opportunities including Discovery World, the Junior Achievement Kohl’s Education Center and the Milwaukee Public Museum.”

Last year Junior Achievement provided programs to more than 166,000 students – including more than 100,000 elementary school kids – in the state through BizTown and other programs.

This year’s new partnership allows 5,000 MPS fifth grade students to experience life as an adult at BizTown, which seeks to educate kids about the real-life responsibilities they will face as adults.

Students can manage a simulated town and work at one of the town’s 15 businesses, including a bank, a newspaper, a restaurant and city hall. Through the experience they will learn about economics and other concepts they study in their classrooms.

More than 200 MPS fifth grade social studies teachers take part in a curriculum training session before the kids visit BizTown.

Over 1,000 community volunteers also take part, serving as professional role models and helping kids manage their BizTown businesses.

“The JA BizTown program provides MPS students with a realistic opportunity to experience how basic economic concepts are used in the real world. By participating in JA BizTown, our students experience the responsibilities and opportunities of citizenship in a free enterprise system,” said Dr. Driver in a statement.

“It’s an honor to be able to serve all 5th grade MPS students through the JA BizTown Learning Journey,” added JA of Wisconsin President Tim Greinert.

“With the help of our community volunteers, we are equipping these students with the skills and confidence they need to become successful economic citizens in our community,” “It is our hope that we ignite their passion for a particular career or industry.”

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