C.O. Harrison Colonels in grades 3-5 are learning the value of a dollar this year as part of the University of Cincinnati’s Student Enterprise Program (StEP). This positive rewards system is made possible through the folks at the UC Economics Center, by finding business partners to fund the program at C.O. Harrison, making it free to the staff and students.

COH student with UC volunteersThe program is helping to encourage and motivate students to be respectful and responsible, while teaching them valuable skills of financial responsibility, good citizenship, social skills and more.

Karen Singleton, a teacher who helped to bring the program to C.O. Harrison, is impressed with all that the program has done and said, “this is an awesome program and the students and teachers are really loving all that it is providing for our students!”

The school decided to focus on three areas – behavior, homework and attendance. Each student receives a StEP booklet, which includes account ledgers and checks for each quarter, as well as activities that are linked to the content standards. Each day, students earn StEP Bucks for arriving on time, displaying appropriate behavior for the day and coming to class prepared. Teachers can also give students bonus bucks for additional incentives.

At the end of each quarter, the students have the choice to save, spend, donate or do a combination of all three options with their earned StEP bucks. Students who save at least half of their bucks for the quarter have the opportunity to earn 10 percent interest on their savings.

U.C. brings a store to C.O. Harrison, where students can purchase small items, such as pencils, erasers, crayons, frisbees and other things. Those students who opted to save can put their StEP bucks toward a larger prize, such as gift cards, footballs, basketballs or mp3 players. Bonus bucks can also be earned at the store for doing things like greeting and shaking hands with the store volunteers, asking store volunteers about their job or helping volunteers with the math calculation for their purchases.

Poster for Animal AdoptionAn exciting component of the program is charitable giving and philanthropy. The student body voted on a charity to support with their donated StEP bucks. This year the Colonels voted to support a local animal shelter, the Animal Adoption Foundation (AAF) located on Millville Road in Ross, Ohio. Using posters of animals waiting to be adopted, students are encouraged to remember where their donations will go, if they choose to donate rather than spend their money. At the end of the year, U.C. will match one percent of what students have donated in StEP Bucks and convert that one percent to real money to donate to the AAF. It’s a win for everyone!