Jamaica students learn about food truck biz from the inside out

April 22, 2019 GMT

For a teacher, the best lessons are often project-based. Such classwork requires students to use a combination of topics such as reading, writing and math. Bonus work gives them a chance to burnish their interviewing and research skills.

“That was the good part about this project,” said Shannon Allor. She teaches fifth-grade math at Jamaica Elementary School. “They have to use every subject to create their business plan.”

Her 80 students – spread across three classes – were charged with creating a food truck business. There are many moving parts to assemble: Devise a brand, a marketing plan, a logo and a menu. Because no business operates without money, the students also need to calculate start-up costs, daily costs and projected profits.

For their research, the students turned to an expert. Food truck owner Bailee Brunson visited Jamaica on Thursday to answer students’ questions and give them a tour of her food trailer. She and her husband, Neil, began their Wild Coffee mobile food and beverage business in Lake Havasu City in February. She came to Jamaica at Allor’s request so the students could get a first-hand look at a food truck business.

As the students peppered her with questions, Brunson’s replies kept pencils flying as students dutifully recorded her answers. Allor stood nearby, pleased to observe her students’ deep level of engagement.

“This is good for them,” she said. “They’ve been working really hard. We just ended the AZMerit testing on Monday.”

AZMerit is an annual statewide test measuring students in English language arts and math. Students in all schools in third grade through high school take the test.

With their heavy testing schedule finally behind them, Allor’s fifth-graders got the green light to move on to more engaging classwork.

“They were really excited when I told them about this food truck assignment,” Allor said. “They’re so enthusiastic.”

As the academic year draws to a close – the last day of school is May 23 – Allor will wrap up her first year of teaching at Jamaica. It’s a school she knows well.

“I was in the first kindergarten class to go here. Now I work here,” she said. “And the really great part is that the classroom I teach in was my classroom when I was in kindergarten.”

Pam Ashley can be reached at 928-453-4237, ext. 230 or pashley@havasunews.com.