HH Chamber Sponsors Smart Marts

Skipcha staff poses with Smart Mart sponsors
By: Todd Martin
With just a few days before the start of a new school year, the Harker Heights Chamber of Commerce reached into five Killeen ISD schools to help educators motivate students to excellence.
The chamber’s most recent Vision XXI leadership class formed a “Smart Mart” concept, with community sponsors adopting each elementary school in Harker Heights and Nolanville to provide storefronts as motivation for students.
Starting with a ribbon cutting at Mountain View Elementary School and continuing to Harker Heights, Cavazos, Nolanville and Skipcha elementary schools, chamber leaders announced the sponsorship.
Macy Sills, a Vision XXI class member representing First Community Mortgage, said the Smart Mart is designed for each school to adapt according to specific needs.
Administrators at each school shared ideas about how they might use the sponsorship to motivate students with monthly attendance awards, positive behavior bucks and other suggestions.
Vision class members raised funds to start each school store with supplies and a cart as needed, as well as a form of currency such as tokens and a Wal-Mart gift card worth $1,800 for each school.
The intention, Sills said, is to continue to recruit sponsors to sustain each store.
Several principals pointed out the importance of attendance, a critical factor for academic success.
Cavazos Principal Joe Gullekson said he planned to form a student focus group to find out what items would motivate students to attend school daily and to arrive on time. He anticipated the school’s PTO getting involved in stocking the store.
At Nolanville Elementary School, Principal Wendy Haider said she expected to rename the school’s current Eagle Shop and to issue “positive behavior bucks” for all staff members to award to students.
She said teachers and other staff members could award the currency as they see students show acts of kindness, care for the school building and exercise positive character traits.
Skipcha Elementary School Principal Jane Apodaca gathered her whole staff in the cafeteria to hear about the new Smart Mart grant.
She said all staff members would have the chance to award students for safe, respectful, responsible behavior. “The community is an important stakeholder for us,” she said. “It’s a huge part of our success.”