‘Balancing the Books’ Helps SCSD Students Become #SCSDCareerReady
Published on 12/2/16
District News Academics Henninger High School Huntington K-8 School
Huntington eighth grader Sky Edwards has a dream of owning her own bakery one day. Each Friday afternoon, she attends a Balancing the Books program in her school library to help her learn the business knowledge she thinks will help her make that dream a reality.
“We’ve learned a lot about finances, surplus and why the prices of things go up and down,” Sky explained. “I’m learning a lot about companies, too. Last year, we went on a trip to SU and that was one of my favorite things.”
Balancing the Books, a partnership between the SCSD, the Martin J. Whitman School of Management and the Mary Ann Shaw Center for Public & Community Service at Syracuse University, brings SU students into Huntington for a 10-12 session series that helps seventh and eighth grade students develop personal and academic goals and learn about financial literacy. The full-year initiative culminates with a field trip to SU.
“When I grow up, I want to do something in engineering or entrepreneurship,” eighth grader Declan Shaughnessy said. “Through this program, I’ve learned about teamwork, I’ve worked with a group to make an invention… it’s taught me about real life experiences that will help prepare me.”
Those real life experiences are what school Counselor and program advisor Andy Leonardo hopes stay with students. “The best thing for the students is the positive attention they get from the college kids,” he explained. “I don’t expect that they will retain most of the business stuff, but I hope they see that the types of people they will meet at college are engaging and friendly, just like their mentors, and I really hope they’ll learn that college is a possibility for them.”
At Henninger, the second Balancing the Books host school, SU students visit every Friday with seniors in Joe Grefer’s Government and Economics class, teaching them about economics concepts that align with the class curriculum. Each week, small groups complete modules focusing on things like marketing, manufacturing, research and development and more – knowing that the modules will be part of the Henninger students’ final projects in Economics.
“I love to share my experiences,” Whitman Finance/IT major Yu Shao explained during a break in his lesson on International Trade and trade ethics. “It’s not just about teaching them about financial literacy – it’s about engaging them and helping them prepare for their future. The first lesson we’re here, they hesitate even to speak to us. Now, the conversations just flow. They’re engaged, so now they can learn as much as possible.”
Henninger students say the biggest lessons they have learned are people skills, acquired by just working alongside the SU students.
“It’s been really fun interacting with them,” senior Naomi Grant said of the SU tutors. “We can relate to them better than teachers, and they’re teaching us bout networking, marketing, preparation and how to balance our schedule. I want to go into nursing, so learning how to build my communication skills has been great.”
“They teach us life skills and have an interesting point of view because they’ve been through what we have, so they know what’s going on with us,” Bradley Young added. “Having them here is getting us used to talking to different people. The biggest thing I’ve learned is that communicating in a specific way with a specific person can help you in business and with your networking skills.”
Thank you to the Martin J. Whitman School of Management and Syracuse University Shaw Center for supporting Balancing the Books, and to the SU students who volunteer their time to help teach our students about financial literacy and goal setting!