DASD awarded financial literacy grant, local banks provide support

This fall Governor Scott Walker announced that DeForest Area School District is one of 24 Wisconsin school districts awarded a grant to enhance the level of personal finance education for students.  A total of $250,000 in grants was awarded to the 24 recipients, who were selected by the Governor’s Council on Financial Literacy out of a field of more than 50 applicants from across the state.  DeForest will receive $20,000 for the 2012-13 school year.

The program, open to Wisconsin’s K-12 public and private schools, was a collaborative effort that included the Governor’s Council on Financial Literacy, the Department of Financial Institutions (DFI), the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) and the Wisconsin Women’s Council. Funding for the program came from settlement funds received by DFI over the last couple of years.

“DFI is pleased to provide funding to support this important initiative,” DFI Secretary Peter Bildsten said. “This investment will enable more of our schools to integrate personal finance into their curriculums. The students who benefit from these programs will be better prepared to handle the financial decisions they soon will be making as adults.”

The intent of the program is to support the efforts of individual teachers and school districts to begin new and sustainable financial literacy programs and events. Wisconsin is the first state in the nation to develop content and performance standards that define what students should know about financial literacy.

“Preparing students to understand and participate in their own financial well-being through education in personal financial literacy is essential if we want every child to graduate with the knowledge and skills needed for success in college and career,” said State Superintendent Tony Evers. “These grants will help schools provide important financial literacy lessons to students.”

DeForest’s grant will be used to follow through on the district’s Framework for Our Future 2.0 community engagement process from 2009, where district stakeholders identified ten themes or values as priorities. One of those themes was “Life Skills (financial, health and character)”. According to Sue Wilson, DASD Director of Instructional Services, “We are currently in the process of developing a five year plan to weave financial literacy throughout our curriculum that will align our community’s top values. The economic events of the past five years have also made it clear that there is indeed a need to provide students a 21st century financial education that improves their financial capability for the future.”

The grant application states that DeForest Area High School will continue offering elective financial literacy courses and seeks to expand the scope of the program to implement an engaging, coherent, personal financial literacy experience in grades K-12 starting in fall 2012. Wilson said that over the next five years, the district will expand and refine these experiences to include all grades and all students in each grade.

Local banks provide support for online financial literacy programs

Thanks to the support of two local banks, high school and middle school students will be participating in on-line financial literacy educational programs.  DMB Community Bank in DeForest has purchased for the middle school “Vault – Understanding Money”, an interactive platform that helps students understand more about financial responsibility & decision making, income and careers, planning & money management, credit & debt, insurance & risk management, and savings & investing.  The program will be used with 5th and 6th grade students in Nancy O’Brien’s and Anne Tredinnick’s computer literacy classes.

1st National Bank in Waunakee has purchased “EverFi – Financial Literacy” for the high school. EverFi is a new-media learning platform that uses the latest technology – video, animations, 3-D gaming, avatars, and social networking – to bring complex financial concepts to life for today’s digital generation.  The program will cover topics such as credit score, insurance, credit cards, taxes, investing, savings, 401Ks, and mortgages.

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