The National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) is proud to be a sponsor of the annual Jump$tart National Educator Conference. Each year, NEFE and the High School Financial Planning Program directly sponsor five educators to attend the conference.
The 2020 Jump$tart National Educator Conference was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but we still wish to recognize the five educators chosen this year by NEFE and HSFPP. Read on to hear their stories.
Theodore Barton | The Early College at Forsyth Tech | Winston-Salem, NC
“We've all been there: teaching something like quantitative easing and seeing a sea of blank faces stare back. Early on in teaching financial education, however, I recognized the value of using my personal story to establish the relevance and importance of financial literacy. My favorite "Aha!" moments--where a student "gets" a financial lesson on a personal level--happen in my office. Building relationships with students is a pedagogical priority, and I have been lucky enough to work with students as the Coronavirus began to loom. Specifically, a student and I were chatting in my office this past March. He was freaked out because both parents were facing furloughs. He felt helpless and without control. We began by discussing financial responsibility throughout college, but over several meetings, we were able to talk through key concepts like basic investing in mutual funds, the importance of an emergency fund, and how insurance works. Those conversations have a relevance unlike conversations in Math or English and left feeling empowered to take control of his financial future. There’s really nothing like it when it comes to teaching.”
Danielle Giannotti | Tanque Verde High School | Tuscon, AZ
“I am new to teaching personal finance for the next school year (2020-2021), but I have taught other high school math classes during the current 2019-2020 school year. I also worked as a counselor, where I taught guidance lessons regarding financial education, particularly around paying for college. The one time that really sticks out to me when a student "got" the lesson I was teaching was around applying for FAFSA and scholarships. The student received their first scholarship offer after writing an essay with some guidance from me and a teacher. When we sat down and looked at the cost of college (tuition, books, room/board, etc). it seemed to "hit" the student that the few hundred-dollar scholarship they received would pay for their books, which they would otherwise have to pay for themselves. The student said, "It's kind of like getting a gift card for college!" After that the student continued to pursue smart ways to receive money to go to college by researching scholarships and how much to take out in student loans to set themselves up for success in paying for college without getting too far into debt.”
Col. Richard Peterson | Plum Senior High School | Plum, PA
“I teach Air Force JROTC and use my NEFE materials 2-3 times monthly. I was polling my graduating cadets to narrow down all their High School classes and select what one class or lesson would they take with them into adulthood. To my surprise, the overwhelming selection was "AFJROTC - the finance lessons". I was taken aback by this a bit because we teach so many "life" lessons like survival, moral courage, communication, and leadership among others. Shortly after this survey one senior cadet, who was entering the Marine Corps, told me he used my lessons on money management to draft a budget, decide how much car he could afford, and make his first purchase (which was a used, dependable, low maintenance cost vehicle). He told me if it wasn't for AFJROTC and specifically the NEFE courses we taught, he would have lost interest in school and might not have graduated. I was stunned because here was a 4.0 student telling me this. The value of NEFE's lesson plans are invaluable and keep our cadets engaged and learning.”
Kimberly Cook | Morristown West High School | Morristown, TN
“I was in line to check out at a department store and a young woman tapped me on the shoulder. She asked if I remembered her. I did but couldn't recall her name because it had been four years since I had her as a student. She said, I just want you to know that I am doing well with my money and my spending. I don't buy unless I have my savings account where it's supposed to be, and I don't buy unless I can pay cash. Her mom interrupted and said that she had taught the family how to budget and save. The young lady was attending a local college and received a scholarship. She budgeted the money as income and paid for all of her books (used) and then paid herself a monthly allowance with the remaining. I knew that I had made an impact on her and her families lives.”
Janet Ginder-Berchick | Payson High School | Payson, AZ
“A smart and lovely young lady whose family is from Mexico brought a piece of mail in that her family received trying to get them to join a predatory lending organization. Because of what she had learned in class about predatory lending, she thought it was suspect and brought it into class for us to evaluate. After we analyzed the fine print, her suspicions were verified and everyone in the room agreed that this was a potentially dangerous "deal" to get involved in. Experiencing the students analyze a real-world situation, apply their knowledge and make an educated evaluation proves they "got" the lesson and so much more. Every teacher's dream to empower students with real world and critical thinking skills!”