My original Capstone Project was making SLA’s school store more profitable through initiatives like cutting costs. It was to provide profits for the school to use. However, the Home & School Association could not provide enough volunteers. So, the store was closed much of the year.
This required me to create a new Capstone. I decided to help children improve academics at one of my elementary schools, the Al-Aqsa Islamic Academy. My mentor approved my change of project. I attended the Al-Aqsa Islamic Academy from Pre-K to 1st grade when it was one of the best Muslim schools in Philadelphia. Currently, it is struggling academically. Parents have given it low ratings. Student enrollment is down.
The declining performance of the school gave me an opportunity to make a difference. I wanted to help younger children succeed. I also hoped to give teachers some relief. The main obstacle I faced was learning to be patient with the students. Sometimes students did not want to work. They would play instead of focusing. I tried to be firm yet positive with those who acted out. I hoped my coaching would transfer to their behavior in class.
Eventually, as I helped teachers grade student work, I saw improvement. Specifically, improvements occurred with presentations, tests, classwork and homework. In-class participation, engagement, and listening also improved.
The Capstone process was beneficial for me. I acquired significant knowledge. I only wish I had switched projects sooner. I am glad I was able to complete my Capstone and graduate.
Managing and Financing the School Store
Emerson, Melinda. “5 Tips to Make Your Small Business More Profitable.” Small Business Trends, 23 May 2016,
This article suggests how to manage the money at the school store. This is important to me because I wanted to make sure the store knows how to properly make a good profit to give towards the school and to buy more snacks without going over a budget.
Emerson, Melinda, et al. “Seven Ways to Be More Profitable in Your Small Business » Succeed As Your Own Boss.” Succeed As Your Own Boss, 16 Mar. 2015,
This article helped me figure out some great ways to make better profit to help benefit the school store especially by creating some referrals/surveys for the customers. It is important to alway get feedback from others to help improve the choice of items in the store.
Kittaneh, Firas. “4 Ways a Small Business Can Scale to Profitability.” Entrepreneur, 18 Mar. 2014,
If I had followed the steps that are on this website, then by the end of the year I would have a good presentation showing how much time and effort I put towards the school store. This is a good source to rely on to try to take proper notes to keep on track in case of any issues we may face with money at the school store. This site offered a few high level tips for small business owners such as defining your value for the market, taking sensible risks, having a good cash flow strategy and making a real effort to appreciate employees.
Miller, Derek- June 22, 2017. “5 Innovative Ways to Run a More Efficient Small Business.” SCORE, SCORE, 22 June 2017,
This was similar to the link I have above. This site motivated me to improve any strategies I have for representing this capstone. This site described five high-level considerations for new small business leaders. They include delegation, automation, consolidation and simplification of work, as well as embracing change and innovation and embracing technology to improve IT performance.
Rapetskaya, Maria. “5 Things Not to Do Running a Small Business.” Entrepreneur, 12 Jan. 2016
The Entrepreneur site provided me with ways to make sure that I had stayed on the right path by avoiding some of the mistakes of managing a small business at the store store. I know that in order for you to succeed you must fail and learn from that failure, but I did not want to cause a major money issue for the school store. It also focused on helpful, high-level tips for people who are starting a new company. This spoke to important issues such as choosing the right business associates, patience, delegation, perseverance and renewal (including continually adapting the business meet market demands).
York, Mitchell. “6 Simple Ways to Increase Profits For Your Small Business.” The Balance,
This was another site that explains ways to raise a profit/fundraiser. I wanted to make sure I had the proper suggestions for the store to make sure that they could fundraise for the school without having the store go into debt. It also focused on six ideas for how to increase the profits of a small business. The ideas range from changing operating procedures and stabilizing cash flow to trimming management costs and increasing marketing and sales productivity.
Zahorsky, Darrell. “What Are the Essential Steps in Starting a Small Business.” The Balance,
The website was a planner/checklist for me to look back at to make sure I stayed on point with this project. I know that there were capstone timeline/checklist assignments to keep me on track but I did not want to rely on just those assignments. That was why I chose to use this site that showed different aspects of setting up and running a small business. The site focuses on subjects such as defining a strong value proposition and business plan, choosing a business structure, and obtaining permits. It was interesting because the site also comments on specific details like naming the company and selecting a location.
“Tips for a Successful Small Business.” Findlaw,
This site offers me a way of making sure I developed the proper skills of financing the school store, such as taking good notes to keep a record of the money coming in and out of the store. It also offered tips to small business leaders in over 10 areas ranging from high-level requirements (e.g. have a good business plan, maintain competitive advantage) to tactical considerations (e.g. use written contracts, buy insurance, hire well, pay expenses and taxes on time). This site has a clear focus on key legal issues required to run a small business.
“How to Run a Successful Small Business.” Chron.com,
This was a good site because it guided me to understand how to run the school store with managing and fundraising. This also focused on four basic areas where small business leaders must focus: financial literacy, financing, legal issues and work-life balance.
“The 10 Hardest Things About Running a Business.” QuickBooks, 14 Dec. 2016,
This was a helpful link for me because it showed the hardest things that I would have to deal with when running a business and allowed me to make sure I would not make any major mistakes. It also offers a view of 10 significant challenges faced by many entrepreneurs and small business leaders as they try to balance short-term business imperatives and more strategic considerations.
Tutoring Elementary School Students
“Tutoring Strategies for the Primary Grades.” Reading Rockets, 7 Nov. 2013,
This website explains how children from 1st to 3rd grade usually read and comprehend. It briefly explains how to read with the kids, helping students grasp strategies, better comprehension, and even work their way up to become great writers.
Team, Understood. “6 Strategies Teachers Use to Help Kids With Learning and Attention Issues.” Understood.org,
This site demonstrated how to professionally deal with children when teaching/tutoring them. It also included how to help those who have Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia, ADHD, executive functioning issues, and slow processing speed. This was very important for me to take into consideration because I might have to face some students with learning disorders. Therefore, I wanted to have the capability to help them out.
“What Makes a Successful Tutor?” Edutopia,
This source described more about how to build a good relationship with the students I tutored. It is always good for children to be comfortable expressing themselves through their work as they learn. So a tutor must be able to understand their personality in order for them to achieve and succeed through their work.
“Tips for Reading Tutors.” Reading Rockets, 24 Aug. 2017,
This is similar to the first site above but it is more of a checklist than an elaboration on how to help elementary students read on the required level. It also includes how the tutor should manage herself when trying to help the kids since it takes a lot of respect and patience.
“Tips For New Tutors.” First Tutors, First Tutors 44 843 289 9165,
This website offers suggestions on how to increase student participation and engagement while while helping with school work. This was one of the most reliable sources that I used because I had faced a lot of reluctance and acting out with the kids. Thankfully, I was able to use and create my own strategies while being professional and patient with them.
“Elementary School Teachers Struggle with Common Core Math Standards.” The Hechinger Report, 16 June 2016,
This article talked about how elementary teachers struggle with teaching their students math. At Al-Aqsa one of the academic subjects that students struggle with is math. This site allowed me to find and figure out better strategies to not only offer the kids but the teachers to improve their math skills.
Jayme. “How to Become a Successful Tutor.” Care.com, Care.com, 29 Mar. 2018,
This provided ways for me to be a good tutor for elementary children since I had to be able to guide them on their level rather than on a middle or high school level. That way I could be able to build a beneficial relationship with them so that we could understand one another during our tutoring sessions.
Miller, Ashley. “Tips to Help Tutor Elementary School Children.” Why Is It Important to Have a Social Life in College? | Education - Seattle PI, 29 Sept. 2016,
This source was similar to the one above. I especially used the section that was titled, “Make Learning Fun” which is one of the best skills any tutor can have when dealing with children. The goal is that they should never be bored or procrastinate. This did happen but as I continued to tutor I figured out ways, using this site and my creative strategies, to keep them engaged in their work which allowed them to use those same skills in their classroom.
“Kids Tutor Kids to Big Gains.” Creating a Safe Classroom Environment | Education World,
What I took from this article in particular was the section about, “Big gains over short time” because that was my goal for not only the students and staff, but for the entire school. I wanted to be able to bring that lift and make a positive change to the Muslim community.
“6 Ways to Help Students Understand Math.” Edutopia,
This was another site that briefly describes how to help properly help students with math. This was useful for me to use because it offer skills that I could build off of such as; creating an effective class opener, topic representations, showing application, and communicating with reasoning.