Microeconomy Tree



The NNMS Microeconomy Program is designed to meet the social and cognitive needs of students between the ages of 12 and 14, while also providing a school-wide Economics and practical life educational experience wherein younger children, parents, teachers, and staff are able to be active participants, contributors, and stewards year-round.

The Microeconomy Program is founded on a social justice and sustainability-based curriculum that integrates core classroom content, practical life lessons, and student-managed “real work” simulations fulfilling real need in our community.

Our currency – our medium of exchange – is in the form of both money and service thereby supporting the development of economic independence, interpersonal relationships, and community building.

Pedagogical Goals

Through the Microeconomy Program, students will be able to:

  • Extend practical life lessons into adolescence
  • Apply lessons learned in the classroom in a real work setting
  • Recognize their individual impact on the larger community; recognize that they are part of something larger than themselves
  • Practice leadership skills
  • Practice interpersonal relationship building and peer management
  • Practice empathy and care of others
  • Assess real need
  • Recognize opportunities to support community
  • Sustain and maintain an economic community-based system
  • Responsibly exercise agency, autonomy, choice, and independence while caring for themselves, others, and the environment
  • Develop authentic partnerships with peers, the NNMS community, the neighborhood community, and the global community
  • Improve executive functioning and time management skills
  • Use technology as a tool
  • Develop professional public-speaking skills
  • Develop personal finance and economic skills
  • Practice “real world” problem-solving and develop critical thinking skills
  • Make ethical entrepreneurial decisions
  • Put innovative ideas into action
  • Improve adaptability
  • Strengthen the relationship between the farm and table, and recognize the practical usefulness of work done at the farm
  • Identify healthy lifestyle choices, and make them for themselves and the community
  • Feel needed, empowered, engaged, and valorized


The Microeconomy is comprised of four interconnected Junior High managed economies: Sandwich ShoppeFarmessori MarketstandCommunity Exchange.  Contracted services are occasionally offered by Junior High Electives such as Wood Shop or Digital Video Workshoppe.  These services are coordinated by the Junior High Microeconomy managers.  When operating these microeconomies, students are able to apply lessons learned in the classroom in real work setting.

All three organizations are “open for business” during most of the school year, thereby making it a fully functioning economic system.  Upon the start of a new trimester, management changes allowing each of the three Junior High classes the opportunity to take ownership of each business once during the year.  Having built in opportunities for all three organizations to work in cooperation with one another strengthens not only the Junior High Microeconomy, but also the community at large.


The Sandwich Shoppe & The Farmessori

Sandwich Shoppe is a student owned and operated farm to table lunch business servicing the entire school.  Lunch is made to order the day the order is placed, and all components of operating the business are managed by the students.  Sandwich Shoppe opens up for business with $1500 of seed money from the prior year’s earnings.  At the end of the school year, all profits are reinvested in the Junior High Microeconomy, or donated to local organizations that students have formed relationships with through the Microeconomy.  Over the past few years, students have made an effort to make Sandwich Shoppe an eco-friendly, healthy, and sustainable food business.  Click here to visit our student-managed Sandwich Shoppe website.

Sandwich Shoppe sources from our student-managed school farm – the Farmessori.    While managing Sandwich Shoppe, students are responsible for planning and planting the Farmessori harvest, gathering produce when available, designing the menu around the harvest, and taking care of the chickens and bees.  More information available at the NNMS Farm to Table website.

The Markestand

Marketstand is a for-profit business operated by teams of 7th and 8th grade students.  The program is designed to support independent economic growth in the young entrepreneur.  Funding for Marketstand is in the form of micro-loans from MB Financial Bank and the General Managers of Sandwich Shoppe.  In order to receive funding, students must professionally present their ideas in front of the board and negotiate all contract terms. While operating Marketstand, students have the opportunity to independently innovate and produce their own products, which are then marketed to the entire school.  Profits go directly to the students.

The Community Exchange

Community Exchange is a non-profit organization also operated by teams of 7th and 8th grade students.  “Com Ex” allows students to assess where there is need within their school and neighborhood community, and fulfill that need through student-designed community based projects.  Service contracts are drafted between students and cooperating clients, and an effort is made to maintain an authentic reciprocal relationship throughout the duration of the project.  If funding is needed for service projects, students may submit a grant proposal to the General Managers of Sandwich Shoppe.




Comments or questions are welcome.

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