Q and A

WHAT WAS THE VERMONT TEACHERS FINANCIAL LITERACY SUMMER INSTITUTE?

The Summer Institute was created as a response to the growing concern that Vermont students were not being adequately prepared with regard to personal finance topics prior to high school graduation. More than half of the states in the country, including Vermont, do not require that students be taught financial literacy topics, but a national survey indicates that 89% of teachers believe that students should be required to have financial literacy course prior to high school graduation. The Great Recession and its aftermath are further proof that personal finance knowledge is a necessary 21st century skill that our children should have when they leave high school.

92 teachers from 78% of Vermont's Supervisory Unions have attended the Summer Institute. Based on teacher estimates, we expect graduates to teach nearly 40,000 Vermont students over a 10 year period.

WHAT WAS THE COST?

The tuition was $1,200. Approximately $38,000 in academic scholarships were given to help cover the cost, based on need. Teachers were asked to seek professional development funds through their school prior to requesting a scholarship or partial scholarship.

HOW WERE TEACHERS SELECTED?

The grant required that we train teachers who teach or who were highly motivated to teach personal finance and that we try to reach educators from 75% of Vermont's Supervisory Unions. To meet this requirement, teachers from specific schools were targeted, meaning the registration process was not solely based on first come, first serve.

WHAT WERE THE INSTITUTE'S GOALS AND WHAT DID TEACHERS LEARN?

To give teachers the confidence, skills, and curriculum tools needed to successfully teach personal finance in their classrooms.

This 45-hour graduate level course covered the following topics:

  • Income and Careers
  • Planning and Money Management
  • Credit and Debit
  • Risk Management and Insurance
  • Saving and Investing
  • Financial Responsibility and Decision Making
  • Classroom Ready Curriculum
  • Games and Activities to Promote Financial Literacy in the Classroom

During the Summer Institute teachers had the opportunity to listen to expert instructors from the financial industry and experts on teaching personal finance in the classroom. Teachers also received 3 graduate credits upon completion.

WHO DESIGNED THE CURRICULUM?

The curriculum presented at the Summer Institute included 21 hours of content that had been jointly created by the JumpStart Teacher Training Alliance and the Center for Financial Literacy at Champlain College. The JumpStart Teacher Training Alliance Curriculum was developed by a national steering committee consisting of individuals from the JumpStart Coalition, Nation Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE), Council for Economic Education (CEE), Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Family Economics and Financial Education (FEFE), Junior Achievement, the United States Department of Education, and the United States Department of Treasury. The Center for Financial Literacy at Champlain College was chosen to be one of five pilot sites for the testing of this innovative curriculum. Other pilots have also been held in Denver, Chicago, Tuscon, and South Carolina. (For more information on the JumpStart Teachers Training Alliance visit: http://www.jumpstart.org/teacher-training-alliance.html)

WHO WERE THE INSTRUCTORS AT THE SUMMER INSTITUTE?

Each year more than 25 individuals provided instruction. Click here to see biographies of the 2011, 2012 and 2013 instructors.

WHAT DID THE TEACHERS THINK ABOUT THE QUALITY OF THE INSTRUCTION?

"By far the best professional development I have been a part of in 29 years of teaching! The materials, speakers, organizers, and colleagues were absolutely fantastic. I would high recommend the Summer Financial Literacy Institute." Judie Estes, Business Teacher, Mount Anthony Union High School.

"It seems that saying thank you is not enough. Please know that your efforts to make this experience for us possible will benefit students and other teachers in school districts across Vermont as we return and integrate activities and enthusiasm for financial literacy in our schools" A quote from a letter signed by all 2011 Summer Institute participants. Click here to see the entire letter.

Summer Institute 2011 teacher Courtney Poquette was featured in a video series developed by Merchants Bank documenting her time before the Summer Institute, during, and after. To watch Courtney Poquette - Chapter 1, 2 and 3 - in her classroom and at the Summer Institute, visit the Merchants Bank Financial Education webpage.

WHAT TOOLS WERE EDUCATORS ABLE TO TAKE BACK TO THE CLASSROOM?

Participating teachers received a tool kit of materials worth $400, including a collegiate textbook on personal finance, and a classroom kit filled with games, books, and curriculum to be used with a variety of grades. Teachers were also given access, before and after the class, to an online Wiki full of information relevant to the summer training.

A BIG THANK YOU

goes to Merchants Bank for providing the Center for Financial Literacy with a generous, three-year $125,000 grant that has helped make the Summer Institute possible.  

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