Sullivan Middle School will use a $575,000 grant to launch an after-school and summer program that teaches students to be entrepreneurs.
Students in The Zone will learn to design, market and sell products and run a business, organizers said. The program also will offer students help with homework and tutoring in math and reading.
“It’s set up to be really engaging for students,” Sullivan Principal Michael Waiksnis said.
The after-school Zone, which starts Jan. 7, is free to students who sign up and transportation will be available.
Sullivan families can enroll children now. Fifty of the 100 available spots already have been taken, Waiksnis said. If fewer than 100 sign up by the time the after-school program launches, students at other Rock Hill middle schools will be allowed to enroll, though they will have to find a ride.
The firm was awarded a federal 21st Century Community Learning Center grant to partner with Sullivan Middle and manage the after-school and summer programs.
The money will cover four years of operating costs, which includes hiring five certified teachers and five tutors, Waiksnis said.
Academic Achievers has worked with schools in North Carolina, Florida and New York, but this is the firm’s first partnership in South Carolina, said Shannon Martin, an Academic Achievers program supervisor.
The five-week summer program is promising, Waiksnis said, because it could stop the “summer slide,” when students lose some of the academic gains they made at school while on break for more than two months.
“Just keeping the kids in school over the summer is so critical,” Waiksnis said.
Academic Achievers has lots of activities planned for Sullivan students, Martin said.
While designing the products and services they want to sell, students will learn to create a business plan and study financial literacy.
They also will film a documentary related to cultural lessons they learn at Sullivan, an International Baccalaureate school.
The programs will conclude with a showcase market where students show their film and present their products while visitors browse with the option to buy.
“The students will get the opportunity to show everyone what they’re doing and make some money,” Martin said.
Get in The Zone
Shawn Cetrone 803-329-4072