(ST. JOSEPH, Mo) Students at Roubidoux Middle School are taking part in deterring car thefts. The opportunity is thanks to the United Way Profit in Education, an organization that increases engagement with students and community partners. The goal is to keep kids motivated in class.
"We're noticing a decrease in student engagement in the eighth grade," Kelsey Davis, Teacher.
The United Way's Profit in Education initiative teams up with local schools and businesses to curve dropout rates.
"We decided to pilot this project of project-based learning," Jodi Bloemker, director, St Joseph United Way, said.
This project gave kids the chance to solve a real world problem.
"We worked together to try to find a way to prevent auto theft." Jaylee Steele, an 8th grader who participated in the project.
Students worked in teams for three weeks brainstorming ideas to curve auto thefts. They even got to work with the St. Joseph Police Department.
"It's not what they're just learning in a book, it's not just a presentation to their teacher," Bloemker said. "It's a real product that may be used and they have plans for what they can do next with it."
"We talked about how we could prevent it we looked things up, we found things," Caeden Bayer, an 8th Grader who participated in the program, said. "Then we brought it all into one presentation to share..."
For the teachers the experience is invaluable.
"The kids actually get to reach out to the community and get outside of these school walls." Davis said.
They said giving these students the opportunity to shine like this sets the tone for future success.
"The fact that they didn't overlook these 13 and 14 year-olds and they actually gave them a chance and a voice is huge," Davis said. "I wish more people in the community would do it."
The students found many car thefts involve teenage drivers. Some of the students even presented their ideas to students at Lafayette High School.