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Educator Spotlight of the Month: August 2021


Image caption: August 2021 Spotlight: Francie Ellis

JA: What grade do you teach & where?

FE: I teach 1st grade at Albion Grade School.

JA: Are you a Junior Achievement Alum.  If so, tell us about your Junior Achievement experience when you were a student.

FE: No.

JA: How long have you hosted Junior Achievement programs in your classroom/school?

FE: I have taught at AGS for 25 years and I have been hosting Junior Achievement ever since they started offering it to the students at Albion Grade School.

JA: Why did you initially choose to have Junior Achievement programs in your classroom/school?

FE: I chose to have Junior Achievement programs in my classroom because it gave me a way to have people in the community come and share with my students.

JA: What do you enjoy most about having Junior Achievement programs taught to your students?

FE: I love the lessons that are taught to my first graders through the Junior Achievement program. In the first lesson, they look at what makes up a community. They talk about the different businesses that make up our town and how it would be different if we didn’t have those businesses. In another lesson, they discuss wants vs. needs. The curriculum has a game where the students decide if the item is a want or a need. In another lesson, the students learn about maps and they get to decide where they would like to put different businesses if they had their own town.

JA: What reason would you give to another educator on why they should have Junior Achievement programs in their classroom/school?

FE: I think every educator should take the time to let their students go through the Junior Achievement program. It is a hands-on curriculum. The students have the opportunity to interact with someone in the community. It also gives the students a break from the regular curriculum. My students always look forward to the 6 weeks that we have a visitor coming in. They are always sad when it comes to the end. But they love getting the certificate saying they have completed the program.

JA: How do you feel JA relates to what you/other educators teach in the classroom?

FE: As a teacher, we are always talking about what it takes to be a good citizen whether it is in the school setting or out in the community. The JA program allows the students to see examples of how they can be a good citizen in the community.

JA: What value do you feel a JA volunteer provides you and your students?

FE: The JA volunteers are very good to educators, especially at AGS. They come into our classrooms excited to interact with our students. They love sharing with the students on what they do in their profession to help our community. 

JA: What is one of your favorite JA moments?

FE: This past school year we took a field trip to our local bank the last week of school. We had just finished our JA program the week before. While we were touring the bank, the bank employees used many vocabulary words and terms that we had just discussed the week before. It was neat to see the kids’ faces light up because they knew exactly what they were talking about.

JA: In what ways has the pandemic changed how JA is being taught in your classroom/school?

FE: Due to the pandemic, I was not allowed to have a volunteer come into my classroom this past year. I had the choice to skip it this year or teach it myself. I did not want my students to miss out on this opportunity, so I taught the curriculum myself.

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