Go Back

Our Stories

Meet Sarah Bown, YE Educator

Sarah Bown is a Digital Marketing teacher at  Truman, William Chrisman and Van Horn High Schools in Independence, Mo. Now in her second year of teaching YE, she talks about her experience and how YE has helped her students excel.  Meet Sarah! 

What you love most about YE: “I love that it’s hands-on and real world. We talk about project-based learning in a lot of classes, and YE is truly a project-based learning experience,” shared Sarah. 

How do the Foundational Values drive you as a YE educator? Sarah introduces the values at the beginning of the school year and keeps them visible in her classroom so she can use them all year. “I try to incorporate the values not only in my YE classes, but in all my classes,” Sarah says. “If a student is struggling, we talk about using sound judgment in all aspects of their life.” 

Most memorable mindset shift: Last year was Sarah’s first Market Day, and she was not prepared for how exhausting it would be - not just for the students, but herself included. “I was not ready for how physically and mentally exhausting it is to let students have that much control,” laughs Sarah. “I had to shift my mindset that it’s okay if a group fails. As a teacher that is so hard because I don’t want anyone to fail - when I see wrong pricing or some other choice, I want to go in and fix it. But with this program, we learn to fail forward, and I had to let them do that so they could grow from their failure.” The students were able to make adjustments with Sarah’s guidance, and all of her groups succeeded the next semester when they had Market Day for a second time!

Day in the life in her YE classroom: Each day Sarah’s class begins with a 3-5 minute “Success Starter”, an activity that incorporates the lesson learned the day before to focus students immediately. The rest of the day is spent learning about business and everyday skills, using short quizzes in place of tests to check in with how students are retaining the information and keep moving. “A day in the life of my classroom is fun! Kids don’t dread coming to class. I do a good job in my classroom of having an economy - I have a bank set up so students can earn interest. They work hard, but since it’s activity-based, the time goes fast and they enjoy it,” says Sarah.  

YE equips students to overcome obstacles. What’s a great obstacle you overcame? Sarah is a rockstar! Not only is she a full-time YE educator, she is raising four kids and earning her MBA. Yes, all at the same time! “I try and use win-win focus. There are days where I don’t want to go home and study, but then I remember the reasons I’m in grad school. I focus on the opportunities that my hard work will provide, and it motivates me. I tell my students that knowledge is power, and I need to utilize that myself.”  

What are some obstacles you see students overcome with YE? Sarah feels that confidence and working with others is something that students struggle with today, partly due to engaging with others more through phones than face-to-face. In Sarah’s class, “that’s not an option. We’re working in teams all the time, so even super shy kids become comfortable working with others and speaking in front of the class as the semester progresses. I think a lot of students go unnoticed by their peers, and even their teachers. That does not happen in a YE class.” 

If your students remember just one lesson from YE, what is it?  Sarah knows that a lot of students take the YE class because they’ve heard about Market Day. But she wants them to know about the opportunity YE provides with scholarships and networking through field trips. “I want them to know that the people they meet, other students or adults, might play a role in something they do in the future, whether it’s a scholarship, internship or job. I want them to take advantage of the opportunities available to them both inside and outside the classroom.” 

Sarah left us with one last thought for students and educators that may be curious about YE. “If a student has photography or culinary interests, or any passion, YE is a great place to explore. We need people in every field, even accounting,  with a creative and entrepreneurial spirit.”