Dr. Al Voelker, Assistant Superintendent for Academic Services, purchases a snack at Chewy's Market at Ray-Pec High School. From left: Student Teacher Emily Tierney, Adam Doss, Teacher Katie Huff, and Kyle Rhein.
When does buying a snack also provide a learning experience? When you make the purchase at Chewy's Market at Ray-Pec High School.
Students in the Job Skills Class operate the market, where they sell bottled water, Coke Zero products, popcorn, chips, gum, and occasionally, a special snack. Prices range from 50 cents to $1. The students inventory products, sell products, make popcorn, stock and clean the market, count profit, and advertise.
Special Education Teacher Katie Huff said that Chewy's Market provides students with disabilities the specific training and skills necessary in the workplace and in the community.
"Life skills are the building blocks that allow students the ability to live a productive and meaningful life. We teach students these real life examples and lessons that will assist them in decision-making and problem-solving in the real world."
Huff said that selling to peers and teachers is by far the favorite task. "Counting back change is difficult, but students are learning daily and making huge improvements in this area," she said. Students in the Job Skills class are required to work two days per week in the market, unless they have made arrangements in advance due to another activity or tutoring.
(At left, Teacher Kevin Lemen purchases popcorn from Junior Jay Provance.)
Junior Kyle Rhein has several ideas for increasing business. He suggested level pricing at $1 per item to make transactions easier and to increase profits. While appreciating his initiative, Huff had to explain that an important goal of the market is to help the students learn to accurately total sales and make change. Having products with different price points requires more effort. Although it may be challenging at times, she does not want to forego those lessons for students.
Chewy's Market had existed in the past, but was closed last year. The market recently re-opened in the 300 Hallway outside the cafeteria. The market is open during Panther Time on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday each week.
(At left is Junior Kyle Rhein.)
Marlena Walley, Director of Special Education, praised Huff's initiative in reviving Chewy's Market for the high school students. "This is a great opportunity for our students to learn new skills, including how to purchase and stock inventory, manage money, and serve customers."
Huff said that the hands-on market aligns perfectly with the District's mission statement: "Preparing EACH Student for a Successful and Meaningful Life."
This is Huff's 14th year of teaching and her 12th year at Ray-Pec High School. She said she wanted to become a special education teacher after volunteering as a Peer Partner in a Life Skills classroom while she was in high school. #peopleofraypec
(At right is Sophomore Carson Zaner)
From left: Ella Raney, Kyle Rhein, Jay Provance, and Adam Doss.