WARREN, NJ - Fifth grade students did not attend classes at Central School on February 27, and the reason was not the winter weather. That day, they went to BizTown instead. A 10,000 square foot mini-city, BizTown is a place created for children to discover how the “real world” works. It allows them hands-on experiences managing businesses, opening bank accounts, purchasing items, and interacting with others in the community. Elementary school students learn to make intelligent life decisions in BizTown.
Social Studies teacher Jennifer SanAntonio initiated and piloted the Junior Achievement BizTown program with Central School 5th graders.  Over the course of twelve weeks of classroom curriculum, aligned with the Common Core Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics, as well as New Jersey Core Content Standards for Social Students and 21st Century Life & Careers Content Standards, students learned the following: how to be a productive and respectful citizen, how an economy works, how to apply for a job and how to run a successful business.
Central School 5th graders became JA BizTown citizens for a four and a half hour simulated work experience where they worked in one of 14 businesses.  Each citizen had a job for the day, participated in business and town hall meetings, were paid twice, managed a checking account, purchased retail items, got health check-ups, and much more. 

“I am especially proud of the students.  They performed their individual job responsibilities and worked as a team in their businesses like true professionals. It was a pleasure to see them operate within the JA BizTown community to get things done and make a difference.  I am thrilled to have been a part of such an exciting opportunity!” said SanAntonio.

This interactive program not only teaches students how to manage their own finances and the importance of contributing to the community, but it also empowers them to take responsibility for their professional and educational futures.
None of this would have been possible without Junior Achievement. Junior Achievement is an organization dedicated to educating young people about business, economics, and free enterprise. Through a dedicated volunteer network, JA offers in-school and after-school programs for students in grades K-12. Their program is dedicated to educating and inspiring today’s youth.