For about 10 years, approximately 250 students at the school have been selling cookie dough and other items through Fundraising Works, of Joplin, Mo., to raise money for equipment for the school. In an economy where school funding cuts are common, WBE students have taken the problem of raising money for equipment into their own hands.
Last year, the students used their sales skills to peddle more than $21,000 worth of cookie dough and other products. The school keeps 40 percent of the money collected and the company sponsoring the fundraiser keeps 60 percent. The $8,500 the students collected last year enabled the school to furnish each of its 16 classrooms with Elmo projectors, which are a visual option for learning.
"It's an amazing amount," WBE Principal Tracy Smith said. "There are people that will buy some of the other stuff, but cookie dough is the main thing and who doesn't like cookies?"
For the past three years, students at the school have sold more than $74,000 of product, mainly cookie dough, to raise money for much needed equipment at the campus and in turn have added about $30,000 in new equipment for the school.
He added there is also an online opportunity to register sales.
"If grandma and grandpa live on the East Coast or West Coast, our kid could call them and say 'grandma you can access this online and help me out and buy some cookie dough for our fundraiser.' They can then go online and do an online purchase. That kid will receive the credit and the school will receive the credit for that sale," Smith said.
Smith said he is expecting delivery of their product on Nov. 13.
"It's annual. Everybody knows when it comes and the board rolls over my fundraising permission to do this," Smith said. "This is our only fundraiser. The student council does some other things for us but that's just enough money to help generate what they like to do for incentives for kids at the school."
He added that the Elmo projectors have proven to be a successful instructional tool.
"That was something that affected daily, direct instruction," Smith said. "The kids love it, because if you are a visual learner, it is now projected up there. They are great pieces of equipment."
Smith said the kids are also rewarded in more ways than one for their efforts during the fundraiser.
"I also hold out enough money from the fundraising to do a roller skating unit every spring through the P.E. department," Smith said. "We get the roller skates anywhere from two to three weeks, but it is also incentive for the kids because if they hit their class goal, they get to go in by themselves and they get to skate a little bit more, so the incentives kind of continue all year long."
Smith said the skating takes place in the WBE gym and costs about $1,000.
"They actually rent to us and roll in two huge big crates of different sizes of roller skates," Smith said. "We always pre-size the kids so we know exactly how many of one size we need."
Any child selling 14 units or more also earns admission to the Big Bash Party, an entire afternoon of fun and games put together by Fundraising Works.
"There is music and there are treats," Smith said. "If you have more than one child in a family selling, a total of 16 units will get them both in. There is a grab for cash inflatable game as well, filled with bills for the top two sellers to collect. It used to be a limo ride to the Pizza Hut. But that got a little repetitious, so this will be our third year that the company will bring in huge inflatables. We fill the gym up. It's nuts because there are four huge inflatables in there. The kids that meet their sales goals get the afternoon off and they get pretty lathered up in there. It gets pretty wild."
Kids also can win prizes for selling a certain amount of product. The prizes range anywhere from selling one item to earn an eraser to 100 items to earn a $100 bill.
"We are expecting delivery on Nov. 13 and a semi will come up front with pallets and they will unload them in the main hallway," Smith said. "It will be organized and individually boxed by the students' sales and what class they are in, so when they come out they can pick it up, take it on the bus, then they have to get it back to the people that they sold it to."
He said a lot of times the WBE school site council or parents will come in, because it's a semi load full of cookie dough.
"We will have it all laid out in the hallway by three o'clock," Smith said. "Parents that have mass sales, we ask them to come and pick up their kid from school and bring a van, truck or car, because the school doesn't deliver. The kid has to deliver it back, and obviously it's frozen items and unless you have a freezer at home, you better get it to the people that afternoon."
One of the top sellers from last year, third-grader Kaydra Woods, said she enjoys selling the cookie dough.
"I just like going house to house with my dad and meeting new people I've never met before," Woods said.
She said her favorite cookie dough has M&M candies in it and she thinks she has sold about 20 units so far this year, mainly to family.
Second-grader Aissa Kimaya, also a top seller from last year, said she likes selling to her grandparents and likes the chocolate chip cookie dough the most -- as does Principal Smith.