||The MicroSociety program represents a new breed of learning environments. It is the only student-based entire school reform efforts of its kind. This research-based education program transforms classrooms by providing a real-world context for academic learning. Students collaborate with parents, business volunteers, and teachers to create a functioning small community within the school. Students spend one class period each day in their jobs where they learn to run businesses, apply technology, develop government and social agencies, and create cultural and arts organizations. Gradually, students become immersed in the realities of a free-market economy with taxes, property concerns, income issues and politics.
Students begin the preparation for the "jobs" ahead of them by learning how to prepare a resume and present themselves in an effective interview. "What job is for me?" is the question that surfaces from those wanting to join the work force. Others, however, decide to make a business plan and develop their own business as an entrepreneur. They will prepare to sell their new business idea to potential employees during the opening "Job Fair".
Setting budgets, deciding skill needs, developing payscales, determining "warehouse" needs, and staying on top of the IRS is just a few of the responsibilities involved.
The last hour of the day is spent in Emerald City with the students "going to work" at their jobs or taking the "day off" shopping in the market center called OZ. They become competent and knowledgeable about the demands and responsibilities of real life in the workplace, and become aware of career interests. The currency used within the city is called "Emeralds" and soon becomes very valuable as the exchange to make purchases that range from theater shows to soft drinks and ice cream. Whether you need a little excitement behind a joystick or just some time to get your nails done, emeralds pay the way.
The local Emerald City Bank can cash your paycheck or open a savings account. Watch your speed in the halls as the Peace Officers are usually nearby to keep order. Occassionally, EC Law brings cases before the judge and lawyers present evidence and offer defence as crime is curtailed, whether it be counterfeiting, speeding, or tax evasion. Emerald City Council carries on the business of government, making important decisions, setting property taxes, and making sure each business has a license to operate. The Copy Shop provides necessary business services including business forms, advertising flyers, checkbooks, copies, laminating and production of signs. The wheels of commerce turn and each student learns the processes of the community work place first hand. "Smile," you might be caught on camera by the local TV station, DECTV, as part of their regular news broadcast. Students learn how to plan, shoot and present the news because there is always something to report.