JA BizTown® opens doors and minds

Garland ISD students recently made regional history. Sixth-graders from Webb Middle School became the first to step into North Texas’ inaugural JA BizTown, kicking off the district’s newest hands-on learning experience Oct. 17. 

“[JA] BizTown was developed by Junior Achievement, a nonprofit group whose mission is to support education through focused instruction on financial literacy and entrepreneurship,” said Interim Superintendent Deborah Cron.  

JA BizTown allows area sixth-graders the opportunity to run a simulated city as citizens, employees and consumers. GISD and Junior Achievement of Dallas partnered to bring the interactive program to North Texas, constructing JA BizTown within the district’s brand-new Gilbreath-Reed Career and Technical Center.

The town features 15 real-world storefronts, including Toyota, Wells Fargo, American Airlines and AT&T, where students experienced running a business, working a job, obeying laws, earning a paycheck, banking and public speaking. Parent and community volunteers also brought the city to life, serving as mentors and resources. Before their daylong visit, students prepared by completing interactive lessons in the classroom. Webb students interviewed for their jobs prior to visiting, learning skills that helped them throughout the day.

"Being an adult is hard," commented one student.

"Now I know why my parents can't buy me everything," added another, acting as the company's CFO. "You have to be concerned about money. It takes money to buy fidget spinners."

After visiting, students have post-visit reflection lessons, bringing the educational journey full circle. 

“All of this helps our sixth-graders connect the dots between what they learn in school and the world outside the classroom,” Cron expressed.

While all GISD sixth-graders will get the JA BizTown experience, other local students will also have the opportunity to get in on the fun.

Learn more about JA BizTown by visiting the district website