by Kaila Lafferty

Friday, May 18th 2018

The Little Rock School District is wrapping up their One Book, One District program to promote child literacy. The school district, in partnership with the Rotary Club of Little Rock, and Economics Arkansas, came up with a creative way to get students involved with reading, and economics.

Students district wide, were given the book, “Cleo Edison Oliver, Playground Millionaire.” It’s about a girl who starts her own business.

As part of the program, and to go along with the theme of this year’s book, fifth graders were challenged to create a business plan to help them learn about economics. “We have done economics projects in the past, but none of them were quite like this,” said fifth grader, Annabeth Bailey.

Students were put into teams to create a business, and present those plans to panel of judges, just like the show Shark Tank.

Some students at Fulbright Elementary School created a plan for a park, called Wild World, a wildlife reserve and zoo.

With the judge’s eyes on them, they presented the project complete with a park layout, rules, and even a budget. The judges, all working in finance and economics said this type of program teaches important skills, “To have the concept, coming up with a concept and budget, it’s teaching you real life, and how to be in business,” said Debbie Knight, Executive Vice President of Onebanc. “The sooner you start to learn it, like I said, the more you can learn and grown on those skills and that knowledge base,” said Robert Stebbins, Director of Sales, at Sourceone Output Technologies.

The students admit, they took something away from the project as well. “It was trying to find out something new, and getting to learn how others think and getting to learn how economics are,” said fifth grader Danny Behrent.

Saturday, May 19th at the Clinton Library is the wrap up party for the One Book, One District program. A winner will be chosen from the projects presented as part of the Shark Tank competition, and prizes will be handed out.

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