On Monday, February 7, the Junior Achievement Colonial Group Discovery Center welcomed its first class of students from The STEM Academy at Bartlett. The JA Colonial Group Discovery Center provides real world experiences such as running a business, balancing a budget, and applying for a loan, to area middle school students.
Upon arrival, the 100-plus seventh graders were greeted by Superintendent Dr. Ann Levett and President of the Savannah-Chatham County Board of Education, Dr. Joe Buck, along with the staff of JA, cheering the students along before they were escorted into the new center. Once oriented, students were invited to become a part of a simulated version of their hometown within the JA BizTown® and JA Finance Park® programs. Students worked alongside their peers and adult volunteers to develop a greater understanding of financial concepts, build 21st century skills, and foster their entrepreneurial spirit.
JA Discovery Centers blend key components of education to create state-of-the-art learning facilities where students apply concepts they learn in the classroom in a 360-degree authentic and immersive experience. The center simulates Savannah. Businesses and organizations in our community worked with JA to develop the rooms where students complete their assignments. A focus of JA BizTown and JA Finance Park is to provide a fully authentic and immersive experience that engages students in activities in which they apply the concepts acquired in the classroom. By engaging students in their education, we see an increase in overall aspirations and involvement in their learning. Some of the results we have seen from JA BizTown and JA Finance Park include:
• 90 percent of teachers observe their students effectively integrating collaboration, critical thinking, communication, and economic skills.
• 94 percent of students who participate in JA BizTown expect to graduate high school and attend post-secondary education.
• 94 percent of JA Finance Park students say they now see why school and education are important to achieve the lifestyle they desire.
The Savannah Discovery Center is the fifth location in the state and will serve 100-150 students per day. Local companies represented include Amazon, Brasseler USA, Chick-fil-A, City of Savannah, Colonial Group, Comcast, Corporate Environments, Critz Buick-GMC, Enmarket, Georgia Ports Authority, Georgia Power, Georgia Southern University, Georgia United Credit Union, Gulfstream, Hire Dynamics, International Paper, Publix, Savannah Area Realtors, Savannah Economic Development Authority, Shaw Industries, South State Bank, St. Joseph’s/Candler, Stage Front, Thomas & Hutton, Tourism Leadership Council, Truist, United Way of the Coastal Empire, WTOC TV, and the YMCA of Coastal Georgia.
Click here to view photos from the first day with STEM students.