• April 18, 2024

    CAPS program receives grant to add virtual reality project

    CAPS programThe Consuming and Producing Successfully (CAPS) program at Boyce Middle School recently received a grant from the Community Foundation of Upper St. Clair in support of its Virtual Reality Entrepreneur project.

    Introduced at the start of the 2023-24 school year, the CAPS program is part of the expressive arts curriculum for Upper St. Clair students in grades five through eight. At Boyce, the program focuses on community, economy, financial literacy, work and career readiness, and business management.

    “In the inaugural year of our CAPS program, our fifth and sixth-grade students delved into a comprehensive curriculum focusing on community dynamics, economic principles, financial literacy, as well as work and career readiness,” Dr. Kelly Pascarella, CAPS teacher, said. “The highlight was a hands-on experience in Jr. Biz Town, where students managed and operated their business storefronts for a day.”

    Beginning this fall, the sixth-grade CAPS curriculum will ask students to analyze the Upper St. Clair community and select a location for a Main Street USC business experience.

    “Our sixth graders will embark on a deeper exploration of Upper St. Clair's business landscape, examining the factors contributing to the success of enterprises in our town,” Dr. Pascarella said. “Students will then conceptualize their own storefronts, envisioning the kind of business they believe would thrive in our community.”

    Community Foundation of Upper St. ClairThe grant from the Community Foundation will enable the purchase of a classroom set of virtual reality headsets, software and content creation tools. These resources will enable Boyce students to design, build and manage digital storefronts within a safe and controlled virtual space.

    “Each student will craft a detailed business plan and bring their vision to life through a 3D model of the storefront, utilizing cutting-edge technology for an immersive VR walkthrough,” Dr. Pascarella said. “This technological approach will allow for a dynamic exploration of the proposed business, offering a metaverse-like experience that enhances the understanding of its potential in our local economy.”

    According to Dr. Pascarella, through this project, students will learn critical skills such as market research, product design, customer interaction and financial management.

    Founded in 1993, the Community Foundation of Upper St. Clair provides financial support for special programs and projects within three focus areas – the arts, health and wellness, and STEM (science, technology engineering and math). For more information about the Community Foundation, visit https://www.cfusc.org/.