Maps Credit Union (Maps CU) partnered with Western Oregon University (WOU) to provide tomorrow’s elementary school teachers in Oregon with the necessary tools to teach financial literacy in the classroom, equipping them with basic skills and access to Biz Kid$ programs. By integrating Biz Kid$ into WOU’s college-level elementary education coursework, the initiative reached over 125 future teachers last year. Maps CU received Biz Kid$ Financial Education Grants from National Credit Union Foundation (the Foundation) to help fund this initiative.
“Maps’ program is not only impacting current students of WOU, but as these students incorporate Biz Kid$ into their teaching experiences, it will touch countless elementary school students as well,” said Danielle Brown, Director of Development & Donor Relations for the Foundation.
To showcase the program, WOU hosted a conference for local school districts and other universities in April 2014. At the conference, elementary education students demonstrated the lesson plans they developed for specific topics from Biz Kid$.
In addition to integrating Biz Kid$ into college coursework, Maps CU and the Maps Community Foundation are engaging in a comprehensive project with WOU to create an on-campus culture of financial literacy, incorporated through peer-to-peer counseling, guest speaker forums, and specialized instruction in elementary education classes.
“Maps believes that sharing this information with WOU’s students is a great way to move forward with financial literacy curriculum in tomorrow’s classrooms,” says Cori Frauendiener, Director of Education Partnerships at Maps Credit Union. “WOU graduates work in more than 80% of Oregon’s school districts, so this is a great example of how one localized project can have tremendous impact statewide.”
In fact, some of the Biz Kid$-focused lessons have already been implemented in Oregon schools, according to Kenneth Carano, assistant professor of teacher education at WOU. Carano is in charge of executing and supporting social studies teacher education at WOU, and he says many of his secondary education students have used the lessons they prepared in their student teaching. “Biz Kid$ has helped immensely” in moving financial literacy from the theoretical to the practical for his students, he says, and helping us move toward “our long-term goal of financially literate students.”
A Foundation Grant at Work
This “Grant at Work” is part of a series that highlights Foundation grantees who made a positive impact in their community and empowered consumers to achieve financial freedom through credit unions. Grants are made possible by supporters of the Foundation.
Biz Kid$ - Teaching Kids about Money & Business
Biz Kid$ is a financial literacy initiative launched nationally in January 2008 that teaches kids about money and business. The initiative includes an award-winning TV series, free classroom curriculum, outreach activities, and a website targeting children 9 – 16 years old. The Foundation is responsible for the fundraising and outreach of the program, and a coalition of over 300 credit unions and affiliates from across the country have helped exclusively fund Biz Kid$.
Many credit unions leverage Biz Kid$ to teach financial education in schools in their community. In addition to the Foundation’s box sets and starter kits, companion materials and other resources for teachers and parents are available at no cost on the Biz Kid$ website, bizkids.com. The site also features clips from the series and invites kids to appear on the show.
For more information about Biz Kid$, click here.