By Matthew Sockol
MILLSTONE – A program that will bring a functioning supermarket into the Millstone Township K-8 School District has been approved by the Board of Education.
The Millstone Township Middle School will partner with the Wakefern Food Corporation and Saker ShopRites Inc. to open a ShopRite supermarket in the middle school.
“It is going to be an amazing opportunity for our students with special needs as well as for our regular education students as together the children will learn the various functions of running a small business along with job and life skills,” Superintendent of Schools Scott Feder said.
According to Tom Saker, senior vice president of operations at Saker ShopRites, the program was established in 1988 as an educational initiative for vocational schools and the special needs population. It is a partnership between Wakefern Food Corporation, the community school and a sponsoring local ShopRite member.
The goals of the program are to:
- Establish a lab and mini ShopRite where students who have special needs will be trained for entry level supermarket positions
- Train students in a classroom setting to become productive and successful ShopRite associates
- Satisfy the needs of the student, the school, the student’s family and the supermarkets of the community
- Provide the students with “real life work experiences.”
“It’s a great program,” Saker said. “We believe in giving everybody a chance and we are very supportive of taking in children and individuals with special needs. This program provides them with the foundation for the rest of their lives.”
The Millstone middle school is the 19th educational institution to take part in the program and the first middle school.
“We want to build a life skills program for a much larger population,” Director of Special Services Laurie Hall said. “What we are looking for is an internship in career program. We want to expand a learning lab to have it in the middle school for any and all middle school students who are interested in participating. We are looking for exposure to real world work. It is college prep and career readiness for all students.”
Principal Christopher Huss said the ShopRite in the middle school will be connected to a learning lab.
“We are looking at using two classrooms that are back-to-back and putting an access point through them so it is easy to go from the learning lab and doing all the planning activities, all the math calculations, all of the ordering and anything else to make the actual store function, then walking into the store and doing all of the work that is required to make the store function on a daily basis,” Huss said.
“That would include stocking the shelves, opening and working the cash registers for customers, opening the door to customers, setting prices, setting sale prices, ordering and knowing when and what to order. We talk about real-life lessons like supply and demand,” he added.