Johnnie St. Vrain: Kids today learn plenty about personal finance

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Times-Call file photo

Lauren Rider teaches in an algebra class at Altona Middle School, 4600 Clover Basin Drive last year. Rider is head of Altona’s math department.

By JOHNNIE ST. VRAIN |

August 18, 2019 at 6:00 am

Editor’s note: Johnnie is off this week, and so we invite you to enjoy one from the archives.

Dear Johnnie St. Vrain: Financial education is important. What do St. Vrain schools teach students about how to make, use and keep money?

Bob Askey

Dear Bob: I bet you aren’t prepared for the answer you’re about to get. Hint: it’s going to be a lot.

St. Vrain Valley School Schools integrate lessons about financial literacy beginning in kindergarten, according to spokeswoman Kerri McDermid. Beginning with the class of 2021, high school graduates will be required to earn 0.5 financial literacy credits (which equals one semester).

The district also works with local organizations, like Elevations Credit Union, to get experts into the classroom or for assistance in building curriculum, social studies coordinator Jenny Pettit said. Economic Literacy Colorado also helps train teachers on the subject.

“The curriculum is extremely hands-on,” Pettit wrote in an email. “Students are creating budgets, analyzing credit offers, evaluating debt and insurance options, participating in simulations, attending Young AmeriTowne events and more.”

That’s not the end of my answer, though. I got you more specifics, because I’m just that dedicated to the truth.

Here’s a bite-sized breakdown of what students learn at every level:

• Kindergarten: These wee ones learn about the difference between wants and needs, and how money plays into that.

• Elementary school: Kids learn about jobs, resources, skills, the development of Colorado’s economy and the market economy (among other things).

• Middle school: Here they learn about investing and financial decision-making, those exciting things called taxes, and debt and credit.

• High school: Now older and wiser, these students learn about creating financial plans through a series of units explaining market economics and how to make, keep and use money.

Honestly, I’m a little jealous, and so is my adult bank account.

NGPF Podcast: Tim Talks to Colorado Changemakers Debbie Pierce and Alyssa Wooten

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States legislators and education leaders make decisions to emphasize financial education but then what? Anyone experienced in education or business, for that matter, knows that success requires keen attention to detail when it comes to implementation of a new program. Debbie Pierce from Economic Literacy Colorado and Alyssa Wooten from the Colorado Dept. of Education have teamed up to both increase access and improve the personal finance instruction taught in Colorado schools. Listen as they share their plans, the lessons they have learned along the way and what makes for a successful implementation plan. Enjoy! 

https://www.ngpf.org/blog/podcasts/ngpf-podcast-tim-talks-to-colorado-changemakers-debbie-pierce-and-alyssa-wooten/

Teacher Spotlight: Donna Ecks

Donna Ecks, a teacher from Doherty High School, shares what taking classes from EconLitCO has meant to her and her students. 

After attending this first class, taught by Dr. John Brock, I was hooked. How could I have missed out on such a cool and exciting subject? I had finally found my niche. With each subsequent class I took, my knowledge and ability to share economics in a fun and exciting way grew exponentially. In essence, I had become a part of the multiplier effect that ELC creates in Colorado. Teach one teacher content and methodology and that teacher will spread the seeds of economics and financial literacy to more teachers and thus, more students. Over a career one teacher will potentially impact thousands of students. I myself have reached 4, 000 students to date and shared the benefits of ELC with many of my colleagues. The exceptional quality of the ELC staff, professors, and teachers, and the strong belief in a teacher’s ability to teach once taught the concepts and methodology, make ELC the only organization in Colorado providing what is truly needed to have an exceptional impact on student learning and their lives.

Loveland students take stock in financial literacy

 

Elementary students top state competition

By Pamela Johnson
Reporter-Herald Staff Writer
Loveland Reporter-Herald

Posted: Sun Dec 16 19:11:40 MST 2018

Carrie Martin Elementary School fifth-grader Josiah Crill, 10, writes reasons to buy stock on the board during gifted and talented class Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018, at the school in Loveland. During a unit on the stock market, the students learned how to research and trade stocks as a virtual lesson. Three students won first and second place against students across the state by earning the most growth in their portfolios. Josiah is one of the students who won first place ( Jenny Sparks / Loveland Reporter-Herald )

Carrie Martin Elementary School fifth-grader Josiah Crill, 10, writes reasons to buy stock on the board during gifted and talented class Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018, at the school in Loveland. During a unit on the stock market, the students learned how to research and trade stocks as a virtual lesson. Three students won first and second place against students across the state by earning the most growth in their portfolios. Josiah is one of the students who won first place (Jenny Sparks / Loveland Reporter-Herald)

 

Loveland elementary school students were trading more than snacks at lunch last semester, dabbling instead in a virtual stock market.

Students in the gifted and talented classes at Carrie Martin and Stansberry Elementary Schools spent eight weeks learning the ins and outs of the stock market as part of a special curriculum, and three Loveland students placed first and second in the state for the growth in their portfolios.

"It would be great if every student could do it," said Maria Armijo-Turain, teacher at both schools. "It incorporated math, writing, social studies and all kinds of reasoning and critical thinking skills."

Celia Davis, 9, left, and Aidan Coble, 9, center, Carrie Martin Elementary School fourth-graders, check out their stock on a computer during gifted and talented class Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018, at the school in Loveland. During a unit on the stock market, the students learned how to research and trade stocks as a virtual lesson. Three kids in the class won first and second place against students across the state by earning the most growth in their portfolios. Aidan is one of the students who won second place. ( Jenny Sparks / Loveland Reporter-Herald )

Celia Davis, 9, left, and Aidan Coble, 9, center, Carrie Martin Elementary School fourth-graders, check out their stock on a computer during gifted and talented class Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018, at the school in Loveland. During a unit on the stock market, the students learned how to research and trade stocks as a virtual lesson. Three kids in the class won first and second place against students across the state by earning the most growth in their portfolios. Aidan is one of the students who won second place. (Jenny Sparks / Loveland Reporter-Herald)

The Stock Market Experience was part of an economic literacy unit that teaches students about earning, spending, saving, investing and donating money. Through the class, the students researched stocks and decided how to invest their $100,000; then, they virtually invested the money, tweaked those investments, and watched how their decisions paid off in real time.

At the end of eight weeks, the simulation looked at how 136 participants statewide stacked up against each other on the elementary-middle school and high school levels. A team of fifth-graders from Carrie Martin, Josiah Crill and Bradyn Cronin placed first, while fourth-grader Aidan Coble placed second.

The first-place students ended with 4.3 percent in profit, while Aidan ended with 3.2 percent.

"They all really understood how you can grow money from money, how long-term is important," said Armijo-Turain. "They understood how to look out in the world and see it differently."

Other local students also placed in the top 10. From Stansberry, Charlie Funk took fourth, Manny Ediger placed sixth and the team of Alyssa White, Kayla Jacobs and Makaya Fink placed seventh.

"It kind of made me want to think about having it as my career," said Alyssa, who is in fifth-grade, explaining that she liked the strategy of researching and deciding how to invest.

The students described how important it is to diversify and to look into the different stocks first as well as how to decide how much to invest in each different company. Charlie Funk spoke of how, if you invest in different companies, you won't lose as much if one drops.

"I loved it," said Charlie, also a fifth-grade student.

Added Alyssa, "It really helped me learn saving and investing, and I thought it was a great experience. I really enjoyed it."

The first- and second-place winners won $100 and $50 respectively, and the overall classes won $100. Armijo-Turain says the classes will use the $100 as seed money for an entrepreneurial fair in the spring in which the students market goods or services in hopes of at least doubling their money.

And the amount they end up with after the fair will be spent on the giving piece of the lesson by paying for student-created plans to address water issues.

"They're raising money, earning money and donating," said Armijo-Turain. "We're giving them the whole 360 personal financial experience ... The importance is learning personal financial literacy early."

Pamela Johnson: 970-699-5405, johnsonp@reporter-herald.com

Carrie Martin Elementary School Bradyn Cronin, 10, raises his hand to answer a question about the stock market during gifted and talented class Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018, at the school in Loveland. During a unit on the stock market, the students learned how to research and trade stocks as a virtual lesson. Three kids in the class won first and second place against students across the state by earning the most growth in their portfolios. Bradyn is one of the students who won first place ( Jenny Sparks / Loveland Reporter-Herald )

Carrie Martin Elementary School Bradyn Cronin, 10, raises his hand to answer a question about the stock market during gifted and talented class Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018, at the school in Loveland. During a unit on the stock market, the students learned how to research and trade stocks as a virtual lesson. Three kids in the class won first and second place against students across the state by earning the most growth in their portfolios. Bradyn is one of the students who won first place (Jenny Sparks / Loveland Reporter-Herald)

 
 

Teachers to give lessons on how to manage money

 
This workshop is part of the Colorado Statewide K-12 Personal Financial Literacy Initiative sponsored by the Colorado Office of the Attorney General in partnership with Colorado Jump$tart Coalition, the Colorado Department of Education, and Economic Literacy Colorado.

Aug 3, 2018 by KATIE LANGFORD
Grand Junction Sentinel

Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman is joining other statewide agencies in an effort to increase personal financial literacy in K-12 students on the Western Slope and across Colorado.

More than 100 teachers attended the first "Personal Finance and How to Teach It" workshop at Colorado Mesa University this week to learn how to teach money management to students of all ages and in different subject areas.

Coffman said her office frequently deals with people who try to scam unsuspecting consumers out of their money and investments.

"We started thinking about, instead of dealing with this on the back end and making sure we put these people in jail when they've committed a crime, how do we help consumers know enough not to fall for something that sounds too good to be true?" Coffman said. "That evolved into how we teach financial literacy at a younger age, and we realized kids are sponges for this stuff."

Coffman's mission coincides with new personal financial literacy standards approved by the state Board of Education this spring, which will be implemented in Colorado classrooms over the next two years.

CMU Business Professor Morgan Bridge told teachers that helping students be financially literate can have broad impacts.

"Economic and financial literacy makes a difference for students personally, it makes a difference for their families, it makes a difference for them professionally and I think ultimately it's going to make a difference to us as a nation and our region," Bridge said. "This is stuff that will actually change lives."

Many of the lessons at Tuesday's workshop rang true for Suzanne Deane, a fourth-grade math teacher from Cortez.

"I feel like our students are so unaware of the money that they'll need to make as adults," Deane said. "I come from a high-poverty area, and students don't really have an idea of how expensive their lives will be and how not receiving an education impacts the number of choices they have when they grow up."

Deane said the sessions also made her think about her own finances.

"I have five kids and I want to talk to all of them today about saving for retirement," she said.

Kimberly Basham, a family and consumer sciences teacher at Fruita 8-9 School, said she was struck by how personal finance can be connected to a variety of subjects.

"It really is a topic that affects so many other areas, and you really do have to start thinking earlier than ever about it to get to your financial goals," she said.

In addition to the statewide workshops, which will continue next year, the attorney general's office is helping to fund a new position at the Colorado Department of Education that will help teachers incorporate financial literacy into lessons.

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Students Will Learn How To Be "Money Wi$er"

 
This workshop is part of the Colorado Statewide K-12 Personal Financial Literacy Initiative sponsored by the Colorado Office of the Attorney General in partnership with Colorado Jump$tart Coalition, the Colorado Department of Education, and Economic Literacy Colorado.

By:  Camila Barco
Posted: Jul 31, 2018 05:45 PM MDT

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - While students are enjoying their summer, teachers went back to the classroom.

Over 100 teachers from K-12th grade participated in a training session for a Personal Financial Literacy Initiative to teach students this upcoming school year.

The program is meant to educate students on how to be money-wise, knowing the difference between a need and a want, and how to save.

Students will be learning on an interactive, online, learning course called MoneyWi$er Everfi that is designed to introduce financial education skills.

The idea comes from the Attorney General's Office and brought the concept to teach students as early as possible how they can avoid being victims of fraud and how to manage their money.

"This is empowering for Colorado kids. Once they understand the basics of money then they can make good choices as they get older and they can help in their families to manage money and resources more wisely," said Attorney General Cynthia Coffman.

Copyright 2018 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Announcing the Winner of 2018 Koelbel Enterprising Teacher of the Year Award

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This is Economic Literacy Colorado’s 31st year of honoring a teacher of economics or personal finance. The award has been aptly named the Koelbel Enterprising Teacher of the Year Award, in honor of long-time supporters Buz and Sherri Koelbel. Other donors recognize their advocacy and have created an endowment in their name to help subsidize the cash prize associated with this award, which is $2,000.

This year’s recipient is Della Hoffman. She is passionate in her integration of economics and personal finance into her instruction at Place Bridge Academy, a K-8 school with around 1,000 students. At Place Bridge more than 60 different languages and 40 different countries are represented in the student body. While distinguishing herself as a full-time classroom teacher, Della has also served as a mentor teacher to her colleagues in well over a dozen professional development settings and has worked with the Colorado Department of Education in multiple projects promoting economic education. She is a most deserving recipient of the award.

View award details

Boulder High School Senior wins the 2018 Young Economist Scholarship

Economic Literacy Colorado is excited to announce the winner of the second annual Kay Schmidt Young Economist Scholarship essay contest, Mannon Frykholm, of Fairview High School. The scholarship, which provides a $1,000.00 cash award, was created in honor of Kay’s contributions and her legacy as a founder of Economic Literacy Colorado and her tireless promotion of economic education.

Mannon’s essay was selected from thirty submissions, all responding to the prompt, “What Economics Means to Me.” We congratulate Mannon and her economics teacher, Amy Paa-Rogers.

View the 2018 Winning Essay

View Contest Details

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Economic Literacy Colorado Is Proud to Announce We are A Small Nonprofit Finalist for the 2018 Denver Metro Chamber Business Awards.

Source: The Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce website

Our members are writing Denver’s next chapter. This event highlights outstanding local businesses in the categories of small business, start-up business, green business, small nonprofit, large nonprofit and minority or woman-owned business as well as the David E. Bailey Small Business Advocate Award.

Meet the 2018 Finalists:

 

Cost: Premier Table is $1,500 / Corporate Table is $1,000 / Finalist Table is $750 / Individual Member Ticket is $105 / Individual Non-Member Ticket is $125
(additional sponsorship available)

Questions? Contact events@denverchamber.org

2018 Survey of the States Reveals Slow to No Growth in K-12 Personal Finance and Economic Education

Now in Its 20th Year, Council for Economic Education Study Highlights Wide Gaps in Financial and Economic Education Throughout U.S. States     A 2017 study from the American Psychological Association reveals that money is the second leading source of stress in the United States, and the National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 40 million Americans suffer from anxiety, which financial woes can easily trigger. Yet, according to Council for Economic Education’s (CEE) 2018     Survey of the States: Economic and Personal Finance Education in Our Nation’s Schools  ,   financial independence may be out of reach for many because K-12 students are not receiving adequate tools and training to make informed financial decisions; only one-third of the U.S. states require high school students to take a course in personal finance, while less than half require them to take a course in economics before graduating.  Now in its 20th year,   Survey of the States   findings indicate that progress has been achieved, yet gains have slowed in recent years. CEE will unveil the full results at an event today at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.  Research shows that students in states that require financial education have higher credit scores as well as more responsible spending habits and are less prone to compulsive shopping, reducing their financial risk greatly. However, 2018   Survey of the States   findings reveal:  The number of states that require high school students to take a course in personal finance  (17) has not changed  over the past four years.   Since 2016, there been no change in the number of states  which include personal finance in their K-12 standards and require those standards to be taught.    22 states   require high school students to take a course in economics— less than half the country but two more states than in 2016.   There has been no change  in the number of states that require standardized testing of economic concepts since 2014.  “When we initiated this survey in 1998, only one state required enrollment in a personal finance course while 13 required enrollment in an economics class, so clearly we’ve made some gains. Michigan, Georgia, Utah and Texas are leading the way by requiring personal finance and economics courses to be offered and taken, as well as by implementing state standards and standardized testing,” said Nan J. Morrison, President and CEO of the Council for Economic Education. “However, the majority of U.S. states are failing our students by declining to offer these fundamental courses which are critical to their financial stability and security later in life.”  CEE conducts   The Survey of the States: Economic and Personal Finance Education in Our Nation’s Schools   every two years. The report collects data from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and includes commentary from experts and educators in the field to provide a comprehensive look into the state of K-12 economic and financial education in the United States.  The 2018   Survey of the States   is available for download at:   www.councilforeconed.org/surveyofthestates       About the Council for Economic Education    The  Council for Economic Education  (CEE) is the leading non-profit organization in the United States that focuses on the economic and financial education of students from kindergarten through high school—and we have been doing so for nearly 70 years. We carry out our mission by educating the educators: providing the curriculum tools, the pedagogical support, and the community of peers that instruct, inspire, and guide. All resources and programs are developed by educators, and delivered by our national network of affiliates. Our goal is to reach and teach every child. Each year CEE’s programs reach more than 55,000 K-12 teachers and over 5 million students across the United States.  EconEdLink  – our free, online educator gateway for economic and personal finance lessons and resources – attracts more than 1 million unique visitors annually.    Media Contacts:      Lisa Fels Davitt  lisa@successioncommunications.com  (973) 886-1917  Kate Alexander  kate@successioncommunications.com  (201) 638-3946

Now in Its 20th Year, Council for Economic Education Study Highlights Wide Gaps in Financial and Economic Education Throughout U.S. States

A 2017 study from the American Psychological Association reveals that money is the second leading source of stress in the United States, and the National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 40 million Americans suffer from anxiety, which financial woes can easily trigger. Yet, according to Council for Economic Education’s (CEE) 2018 Survey of the States: Economic and Personal Finance Education in Our Nation’s Schools, financial independence may be out of reach for many because K-12 students are not receiving adequate tools and training to make informed financial decisions; only one-third of the U.S. states require high school students to take a course in personal finance, while less than half require them to take a course in economics before graduating.

Now in its 20th year, Survey of the States findings indicate that progress has been achieved, yet gains have slowed in recent years. CEE will unveil the full results at an event today at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Research shows that students in states that require financial education have higher credit scores as well as more responsible spending habits and are less prone to compulsive shopping, reducing their financial risk greatly. However, 2018 Survey of the States findings reveal:

The number of states that require high school students to take a course in personal finance (17) has not changed over the past four years.

Since 2016, there been no change in the number of states which include personal finance in their K-12 standards and require those standards to be taught.

22 states require high school students to take a course in economics—less than half the countrybut two more states than in 2016.

There has been no change in the number of states that require standardized testing of economic concepts since 2014.

“When we initiated this survey in 1998, only one state required enrollment in a personal finance course while 13 required enrollment in an economics class, so clearly we’ve made some gains. Michigan, Georgia, Utah and Texas are leading the way by requiring personal finance and economics courses to be offered and taken, as well as by implementing state standards and standardized testing,” said Nan J. Morrison, President and CEO of the Council for Economic Education. “However, the majority of U.S. states are failing our students by declining to offer these fundamental courses which are critical to their financial stability and security later in life.”

CEE conducts The Survey of the States: Economic and Personal Finance Education in Our Nation’s Schools every two years. The report collects data from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and includes commentary from experts and educators in the field to provide a comprehensive look into the state of K-12 economic and financial education in the United States.

The 2018 Survey of the States is available for download at: www.councilforeconed.org/surveyofthestates

About the Council for Economic Education

The Council for Economic Education (CEE) is the leading non-profit organization in the United States that focuses on the economic and financial education of students from kindergarten through high school—and we have been doing so for nearly 70 years. We carry out our mission by educating the educators: providing the curriculum tools, the pedagogical support, and the community of peers that instruct, inspire, and guide. All resources and programs are developed by educators, and delivered by our national network of affiliates. Our goal is to reach and teach every child. Each year CEE’s programs reach more than 55,000 K-12 teachers and over 5 million students across the United States. EconEdLink – our free, online educator gateway for economic and personal finance lessons and resources – attracts more than 1 million unique visitors annually.

Media Contacts:  

Lisa Fels Davitt
lisa@successioncommunications.com
(973) 886-1917

Kate Alexander
kate@successioncommunications.com
(201) 638-3946

4 Portfolio Management Lessons From Sixth-Graders

By  Matt Sommer , Director, Retirement Strategy Group , Janus Henderson Investors

By Matt Sommer, Director,
Retirement Strategy Group , Janus Henderson Investors

 

Earlier this year, I was offered an opportunity to be a financial literacy mentor for a sixth-grade class at a Denver-area elementary school. Part of the program was a “stock market experience” allowing participants to build a mock portfolio and, at the conclusion of the program, see how well they performed compared with other Colorado-based teams.

The rules were straightforward: Each team was allotted $100,000, allowed to make a total of 300 trades and almost any security was eligible for inclusion. I was extremely pleased that our team came in fifth place, and came very close to winning (although at this time, the results are still unofficial). In retrospect, the four lessons imparted to these young investors may be helpful reminders, even for today’s most seasoned professionals.

Lesson One: Simplicity often trumps complexity. After an initial consultation with the teacher, we mutually decided to set some of our own rules, including no trading after the initial purchase, no margin and no derivatives. While it is doubtful that sixth-graders would have understood these concepts anyway, our approach was to allow the class to research and buy eight to 10 stocks. Since the time horizon was two months, we also decided not to change the mock portfolio during the experience, and let the chips fall wherever they may.

Lesson Two: Patience and conviction. Halfway through, one of the positions had an extremely disappointing earnings report, and the stock fell 14%. Despite the ground rules we established, I received an email from the teacher as the class wanted to know if they should sell. This reaction is perfectly reasonable and, while I did not say no, I did tell them that they would need to be right twice: once for the sale and then again to buy something else. On their own, they decided to stay the course and hold. While the position still ended in the red, by the time the experience ended, the loss was just 8%.

Lesson Three: Dividends matter. With only a two-month time horizon, we ignored dividend yields, but when reviewing the mock portfolio’s final performance, everyone was very happy to have received dividends from some of the positions. Financial theory informs us that the stock price should have dropped by an amount equal to the dividend, but in behavioral theory that doesn’t always matter. People like receiving dividends, as the “bird in the hand” axiom plays an important role in investor behaviors.

Lesson Four: The power of diversification. I was going to put my foot down if every selected stock had something to do with video games or hand-held technology. The good news was that the class selected stocks from a wide range of industries, including retail and consumer durables, without any nudging from me. The lesson of diversification was strongly reinforced as the mock portfolio only had one losing position.

Finally, I would be remiss to not share that with one trading day left in the contest, my class was in first place. I was tempted to call an emergency meeting and suggest going to cash, locking in gains and removing any last day downside volatility. Then I remembered that Ted Williams did not “sandbag” on the final day of the baseball season when he was pursuing a .400 batting average – he played. So we played, came in fifth, but walked away with these four important lessons that hopefully will help educate the next generation of investors.

American Furniture Warehouse CEO selected as 2017 Adam Smith Award honoree

American Furniture Warehouse CEO selected as Adam Smith honoree. Jake Jabs was honored with the 2017 Adam Smith Award by the Colorado Council for Economic Education. The American Furniture warehouse CEO was recognized for his commitment to education, philanthropy, economics and American Values.

Published in the Denver Business Journal on September 27, 2017, 7:24 am.
Source: https://www.bizjournals.com/denver/news/2017/09/27/briefcase-american-furniture-warehouse-ceo.html

Announcing the Winner of the 2017 Young Economist Scholarship

Economic Literacy Colorado Awards Fort Collins High School Senior with Young Economist Scholarship

 
Sarah Keller, teacher; Elizabeth Thilmany, winning student; and LaKay Schmidt, founding CCEE President

Sarah Keller, teacher; Elizabeth Thilmany, winning student; and LaKay Schmidt, founding CCEE President

 

April 28, 2017 Denver – Elizabeth Thilmany, a senior at Fort Collins High School, has been awarded the inaugural “LaKay Schmidt Young Economist Scholarship” by Economic Literacy Colorado . The presentation of the $1,000 scholarship took place during Economic Literacy Colorado ’s annual Investor Appreciation Luncheon in Denver. LaKay Schmidt presented the award to Thilmany.

Thilmany earned the scholarship by writing the winning essay in response to, “Why Economic Understanding Matters to Me.” Thilmany’s economics teacher, Sarah Keller, received a $250 award.

“Economics is essential to our society, and whether we are aware or not, unavoidable,” said Thilmany in her essay. “There is little hope for a society which lacks a basic understanding of budgeting, the implications of consumer choices, and the national economic situation. Therefore, I have decided to dedicate my life to the science of economics. Economics matters.”

The LaKay Schmidt Young Economist Scholarship was created this year in honor of the Economic Council’s founding president, LaKay Schmidt, who led the newly formed nonprofit from 1976-1994. Her contribution to economic education and her advocacy of a free enterprise system lay the foundation for the organization’s success. This annual scholarship will honor her legacy of economic education in Colorado.

More than 60 students submitted an essay for the inaugural competition, which was open to Colorado high school juniors and seniors who have taken a high school economics class. The scholarship will be offered again in 2018. Information will be available in January, at www.econlitco.org.

Announcing the Winner of 2017 Koelbel Enterprising Teacher of the Year Award

Koelbel Enterprising Teacher of the Year Award

Congratulations to 2017 Recipient Ken Benson

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Each year through a competitive application process, the Economic Literacy Colorado selects an exemplary teacher of economics and/or personal finance as its Koelbel Enterprising Teacher of the Year. This year’s honoree is Ken Benson, from Niwot High School in the St. Vrain Valley School District. Ken is the 30th in a long list of distinguished award recipients.

When Ken started at Niwot thirteen years ago, he was offered a one-semester economics survey course to teach. He has since grown the offerings at Niwot to include two full-year Advanced Placement classes and two International Baccalaureate classes, all in economics. He sponsors a student-led economics club and has taken the lead in his district to help develop economic and personal finance curriculum. He has participated in economic study tours to South Africa and Peru, and has been a mentor teacher for several Economic Literacy Colorado teacher training workshops. 

Ken has clearly distinguished himself as an ardent supporter and promoter of economic education in Colorado. 

Award funded by the
Buz and Sherri Koelbel Endowment