Student Blog Contest 2015-2016

Today we’re featuring a guest post from 8th Grader Shanza who shares how the Future Goals – Hockey Scholar™ course taught her math and science skills through real-life scenarios. Congrats to Shanza for being one of our student blog contest winners!

Student: Shanza A.
Teacher: David Lai
School: Thomas Johnson Middle School
State: Maryland
Sponsor: NHL, NHLPA, and the Washington Capitals


Hockey may seem like a simple and effortless sport to play, but Hockey Scholar taught me that there is more to hockey than it seems. In hockey, players have personal preferences. From the type of blade on their skate, to the weight of their equipment, no player will skate the same. Every split second decision a player makes will dictate how they play, like the way a player holds their stick to the weight of their equipment. As insignificant as one thing may seem, the more important the effect. Before all I knew about skates was that there are different sizes available and that you could sharpen them. One thing I learned that has a major impact on the way players skate is the radius of hollow. The way the players’ skate blades are sharpened changes their hollow, which affects how much of the blade digs into the ice. Skates with a deeper hollow can make sharper turns. Skates with a shallow hollow allow players to skate on top of the ice and move sideways on the ice. Goalies tend to have shallower hollows to help them move side to side. My favorite activity from the course was Game 3: Speed- Math (Advanced). This was because it mainly discussed one of my favorite things to learn about, speed. I find everything about speed intriguing and I learned more about it while taking the Hockey Scholar course. A lot of math goes into finding and learning about speed. For example, the activities in this particular game asked you to calculate the player’s speed in meters per second for both the long and short sprint. I love math, so this activity and course was very fun to do!
 

To learn more about Hockey Scholar, visit: http://everfi.com/k12/hockeyscholar/

EverFi and BB&T Congratulate Winners of the 2015-2016 BB&T Student Blog Contest

This past fall, EverFi proudly partnered with BB&T to launch a student blog contest to teachers and students across more than 800 high schools that use the BB&T Financial Foundations program in their classrooms. After students completed the financial education course, they had the opportunity to download and play BB&T’s web-based leadership app, LEGACY: A BB&T Leadership Challenge, and were invited to write a short essay on what leadership means to them.

BB&T Associate Cindi Shaddix presents winning student Tytiana with her award.

BB&T Associate Cindi Shaddix presents winning student Tytiana with her award.

We are pleased to announce the winners of this year’s blog contest! These four students demonstrated a deep understanding of what leadership means to them, and their thoughtful essays inspired all of us.

Tytiana, a student at Elite Scholars Academy in Georgia, shared her views on what it means to be an effective leader:

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then you are a good leader. In the minds of some, being a leader is mainly focused on power, will, and fear. However through the LEGACY game I have learned that being a leader is a goal for the common man or woman who seeks change. Leaders have to be relatable to others. Being an effective leader is about learning to understand, having the patience to succeed, and being able to make the best decisions possible for you and others around you.”

Caleb, a student at Pasquotank County High School in North Carolina, shared his realization that leadership comes in a wide variety of forms:

Caleb, a student at Pasquotank County High School, receives his award

Caleb, a student at Pasquotank County High School, receives his award

“There are two sides of a good leader. There is a mental side and a social side. Before playing LEGACY: A Leadership Challenge, I tended to just focus toward the mental side. This means doing anything that they can to get the job done, hoping for a better future, repeating your good habits and eliminating your old. The mental side is very important. But the social side is just as important. To be a good leader, you must be able to communicate with people effectively. This is what I had to do in LEGACY. I had to communicate with the other characters in a kind yet straightforward way. This is what my father, the leader I look up to in my life, does very well. He was a worker at Lowes. He rarely took days off. He was a very social person. Customers tended to wait the extra minute or two just to be served by my dad, something that my whole family is very proud of. My father’s salary was diminutive compared to many other people in society, but he loved his job. That’s what put him above his counterparts. That’s what puts society’s great leaders above the rest. Their drive. Their willingness to work for what they want. That’s where I want to be.”

Lola, a student at Veterans High School in Georgia, wrote about how the LEGACY game expanded her view on what it means to be an effective leader:

Teacher Dana Burress alongside winning student Lola at Veterans High School

Teacher Dana Burress alongside winning student Lola at Veterans High School.

“My previous idea of a leader was a person who could wield authority; something like an army sergeant. While authority is a good leadership trait, another commonly overlooked trait a of good leader is tact. People are brought up with their own beliefs and ideas of right and wrong. To be an effective leader, one has to go about the right way of introducing your followers to another way of seeing or doing things — without demeaning what they already know. Being a leader is about so much more than possessing authority; it’s about using your influence to help better others. I can only be grateful that this has been brought to my attention early in life, giving me the opportunity to grow in this area and share my newfound knowledge with others.”

Eric, a student at West Forsyth High School in North Carolina, cited an example of a leader in his life who has inspired him:

“Leadership is a defining quality of an individual. A great leader incorporates a multitude of qualities such as being trustworthy, engaged, and empowering while consistently maintaining a positive outlook under intense stress and against all odds. I learned important leadership qualities over this year’s Academy of Finance summer internship from my mentor, Angus Reid. Everyday Mr. Reid organizes and communicates effectively with different clients, tenants, and workers in an elevated sense of respect, positivity, and initiative. His ability to adapt to each individual’s needs and respectfully delegate tasks make him a fantastic leader.”

Congratulations again to our four winners, who each received a $500 gift card. You all have a bright future ahead of you! And many thanks to the dedicated teachers who submitted these winning essays on behalf of their students.

 

Denver Nuggets and Lt. Governor Joe Garcia Kick Off African-American History Program

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Last week, Colorado Lt. Governor Joe Garcia, a panel of players from the Denver Nuggets, and more than 80 students from West Leadership Academy in Denver gathered to celebrate the launch of EverFi’s 306: African-American History course this spring semester. The Nuggets are making this program available to all 9-12 graders, at no cost to the academy.

Lt. Governor Garcia kicked off the event by sharing personal anecdotes about the positive impact of his diverse upbringing and asked students to reflect on the importance of studying other cultures and learning shared values.

In its third year of operation, West Leadership Academy has a 95% minority enrollment, which includes a 91% hispanic student population. The school was built as part of an initiative to revive a neighboring school with the district’s lowest graduation rate and prepare students to be college-ready.

College-readiness is a central goal of Lt. Governor Garcia’s as well. In his remarks to students, he shared his mission to ensure that students of all backgrounds are equally represented and equally successful in higher education. He also urged students to seek help from their teachers and their community. “If you’re willing to put effort in, there are folks who want to help you be successful,” Garcia advised. “And I want to emphasize that if you’re struggling, these are some of the people who want to help you, so don’t be afraid to ask.”

Clearly, the West Leadership Academy students found common ground with Garcia. The Lt. Governor really resonated with me,” said student Luis Carrasco. “Knowing he is Latino and the position that he is in, that’s really motivating and makes us think that we can do it too.”

The NBA panel, comprised current and former Denver Nuggets players Randy Foye, Mark Randall, and Jameer Nelson, answered students’ questions about why multicultural education is so importan120_EverFiDenvert and provided advice on overcoming adversity and achieving personal goals. “Don’t be caught up in what you’re not,” challenged former NBA player Mark Randall. “Be caught up in what you are and what you can do.”

In the coming weeks, students at West Leadership Academy will be taking EverFi’s 306: African-American History course. They will learn stories and themes of African-American women and men who have overcome obstacles through grit, strength, creativity, and intellect. The kickoff event encouraged students to dive deeper into the course and draw inspiration from it’s great stories. To learn more about 306 and about bringing this diversity & inclusion program into your community, click here >

Student Blog Contest 2015-2016

Student: Vivian R.
Teacher: Jeanne Brist
School: Whitefish Middle School
State: Montana
Sponsor: American Bank

Vault has helped me a lot with money. I was really confused about what happened after my mom swiped her card at a store to pay for our needs and some wants. Now I know that after she swipes her credit card at the store it takes money out of her account and the store gets paid. I also used to be confused about checks. Thanks to Vault, I also know how that works! When you give someone a check you also write down a little note to yourself (that is what I like to call it) so you can keep track of how much money you still have in your account at the bank. If you didn’t write a note letting you know that you just spent $10, than you would not know that you spent that ten dollars and you would forget and think that you still had the ten dollars. That would be bad because then you would go to write someone else a check and you think that you still have ten dollars in your account and you have to pay the bank for your mistake. I have really enjoyed Vault and it has made an impact on my life! Vault can help anyone who is in middle school and has trouble understanding money, I know it helped me.

To learn more about Vault, visit: http://everfi.com/k12/vault-understanding-money/

The National Report Card on Financial Literacy in High Schools: While Some States Fall Short, Innovation is Happening Everywhere

Last week, Champlain College’s Center for Financial Literacy released its National Report Card on State Efforts To Improve Financial Literacy in High Schools. This study evaluates the personal finance education efforts of each state based on their graduation requirements, academic standards, and regulations regarding how personal-finance courses are delivered in public high schools.

For a state to get an A, high school students must be required to take the equivalent of a half-year personal-finance course in order to graduate. Only 5 states — Alabama, Missouri, Tennessee, Virginia and Utah — earned that distinction. Twelve states received Fs on the national report card, while the majority of states received Bs and Cs.Champlain_Report_MakingTheGrade2015

This study underscores the critical need to make financial education a national priority and affirms that state-legislated financial education standards are an important part of the equation. But HOW states operationalize those standards to connect with students is also a huge part of producing measurable results. The study suggests that only state actors can help solve this challenge, but through EverFi’s work with more than 1000 private-sector partners, we are demonstrating that innovation from the both the public and private sectors can have real impact.

At a national level, EverFi’s high school students are making great strides in all 50 states. Last year alone, our students’ knowledge of savings rose 75%; understanding credit scores rose by an average of 39%; and the number of students who now feel prepared to apply for financial aid to help reach their dream of college increased by 79%.

In the “A” states that mandate a half-year personal-finance course, our work is highly scaled. For example in Virginia, since the 2011 legislation became active, 96% of public high schools are now partnering with EverFi to reach over 178,000 students. Alabama did not enact state standards until 2013 when they created a new required ninth-grade class, but EverFi is already working in 43% of those Alabama high schools with great results.

As the report shares and we can verify, even in “lower ranked” states we are seeing pockets of excellence led by courageous Superintendents and Principals in districts across the country, State Treasurers, and private-sector partners who are driving financial education innovation for millions of students nationwide. These leaders understand that work and life demand real critical skills, including financial education.

To the 90,000 teachers across 20,000 schools that help us deliver critical financial literacy education to students, thank you for continuing to be on the front lines of this important work with us.

A Teacher’s Perspective On Financial Literacy

Almost a year ago, a colleague and I were fortunate to be able to attend an economics training at the Atlanta Federal Reserve. Our intent was to gain a few resources, spend a little time collaborating with other economics teachers in the Atlanta area, and above all, enjoy a wonderful breakfast and lunch. We came away having done all of that and with access to the Financial Literacy course available from EverFi.

8951436522_d04cc37846_mOur initial thoughts were to offer the course as a supplemental option for our students. As we reviewed our course schedule, we were able to incorporate several days in the computer lab and decided to make the Financial Literacy course our students’ final exam, which would be due following the End of Course Test (EOCT) in early December. We interspersed our days in the computer lab with review work in the classroom throughout November.

As our students worked through EverFi’s Financial Literacy course, we were floored by their comments. Consistently, our students told us that they loved what they were learning. One student even told my colleague, “This is the first actually useful thing I’ve learned in high school.” Although we hope that he was overstating that, we did observe a dramatic increase in EOCT scores in December with most of the increase in the International Trade and Personal Finance domain. Overall, our pass rate on the EOCT increased by three percent over the year before. The principal and administration were happy, but more than that, our students were excited about what they had learned. Spring semester, we planned to utilize EverFi again, and students reiterated the excitement we saw in the fall.

EverFi’s Financial Literacy program has been so well received by my students that I also planned and executed a professional development for our Social Studies department for several additional EverFi courses. Excitement is building with the teachers, and I am hopeful that we will see an increase in student engagement across all Social Studies classes. Students who are engaged in their learning through interactive simulations are remembering new concepts better, and the proof of that understanding can be found in their increased EOCT scores.

Leah Kurtz
EverFi Teacher
Kell High School, GA

Why EverFi is a Proud Member of UK’s Big Blue Nation

There are many reasons to cheer for the Kentucky Wildcats this weekend in the NCAA Final Four. Maybe you hail from Kentucky or attended UK.  Or you could be in awe of the possible feat of completing an undefeated national championship season, and joining the ranks of the greatest college teams of all time.  You could admire the way Coach John Calipari has molded a group of blue chip All-Americans into a selfless, hard-working and cohesive unit that usually wins by doing the dirty work of playing suffocating defense.

cal 2

At EverFi, we’re rooting hard for Coach Cal, but it’s not just because of the accomplishments of his team.  For as much passion as Coach Cal brings to the court, he brings an equivalent level of commitment to supporting community programs off the court.  For the last three years, we’ve been proud to partner with Coach Cal and his family foundation in extending EverFi’s elementary school financial education program to schools across the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Through this partnership, I’ve personally learned how much Coach Cal cares about building empowered and responsible adults, as well as athletes on the court.  As strongly as he believes in playing the kind of defense that has made his squad 38-0 to date, he feels just as strongly about helping individuals be responsible with their finances.  While that might take the form of giving advice to some of his soon to be future NBA stars, it also extends much, much deeper than that into the communities and schools all across Kentucky.  Through a partnership with EverFi, the Calipari Family Foundation Financial Scholars program has impacted over 20,000 students in 150 Kentucky classrooms.

Hear more about Coach Cal’s focus on financial education directly from the guy you’ll see pacing the sidelines in Indianapolis this weekend:

View this video on Vimeo: Coach Calipari Discusses the Importance of Financial Education

From all of us at EverFi, GO CATS, GO!!!

 

February Student of the Month Contest Winner

EverFi is excited to announce the winner of the Student of the Month Contest for the month of February, Daniel O. from Iowa! We asked students all over North America to share with us the lessons they learned after becoming certified in of one of EverFi’s K-12 learning courses, as well as how this program has helped shaped their plans for the future. We love hearing the inspirational stories that come from our student network and we look forward to hearing many more each month!

February Winner

Daniel O.

Norwalk Senior High School

Marla Frantum’s Class

It was the first day of summer vacation and I was up at six, just as the sun came up, going to work.  This was my first full time job.  It required 8 hours of work per day, 5 days a week.  This work brought about physical and mental challenges, but I also noticed a third challenge that I never thought I would have.  I thought to myself, how in the world am I going to manage this money that is now steadily coming in?  My money management was elementary compared to what EverFi taught me.  My saving technique involved a coffee can under my bed.  Having completed EverFi Financial Literacy, I now have more skills than ever before to manage my money.  The EverFi program taught me about savings accounts, checking accounts, debit cards, credit cards, stocks, bonds, CDs, and so much more.  I learned about the differing interest rates from savings accounts to checking accounts.  I also learned what type of account is best for me depending on my current financial position.  Upon acquiring this information, I went to my local bank and opened both a savings account and checking account.  My money is now safer due to the fact that the FDIC is insuring my account up to $250,000, something I never knew before taking EverFi’s course.  This makes my money much more secure than in a coffee can under my bed.  EverFi will hold a lasting impact on my life because of the lessons that it taught me regarding money management.

My life goals include getting a good job that I love to do.  I want to be able to be financially stable when I grow older.  A way for me to maintain my financial literacy is to get a good paying job and save and invest my money well.  EverFi has given me a good jump start into the real world because of the information that has been implanted in my mind about saving, investing, types of cards, etc.  Making wise choices about what types of accounts to open and where to invest your money is the difference between being financially stable and living day to day.  Specifically, one major thing that EverFi taught me is to not spend money that you do not have.  This relates directly to credit cards and I have taken this to heart.  Credit cards can be a good resource, but they can also get people in a lot of trouble.  I will try to never spend more money than I bring in, because it is much easier to live when you aren’t trying to dig yourself out of a financial hole.

A mistake that I see people making all of the time is taking out loans for the wrong reasons at terrible times. Multiple people I know have taken out loans while they are still in high school for cars and trucks that look cool.  I think this is foolish, because in a few years they will have to take out loans for college, too.  These people that take out loans for cars will have a hard time paying off the loans, as well as the higher interest rates that come with them.  My attitude towards not wanting to take out a loan if I can help it is going to help me stay ahead in the long run.

Los Angeles Lakers and EverFi Celebrate African-American History Month with Screening of Selma

lakers1In celebration of African-American History month, EverFi and the Los Angeles Lakers teamed up to honor graduates of a new digital course designed to expose students to the empowering stories of African-American history and to help them draw inspiration from the grit, intellect, and determination of the many remarkable women and men who shaped America. The Lakers have partnered with EverFi to provide this digital learning experience to Compton High School in Los Angeles. More than 300 Compton students have completed the online course to date.

To kick off African-American History Month, the Lakers invited these students to attend a special screening of the film Selma, a chronicle of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s campaign to secure equal voting rights through an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965.

The screening took place at Regal Cinemas at L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles and included remarks from current Lakers forward Ed Davis and Lakers legend A.C. Green. The energy in the room was palpable as Green addressed the crowd of more than 150 students and encouraged them to work hard and stay focused on achieving their dreams as they sat down to watch this depiction of civil rights leaders working so hard to make that possible.

A.C. Green and Ed Davis both attended the screening and stayed after the event to take photos and chat with students. The Lakers also provided the school with warm-up shirts that were worn before games during last year’s African-American History Month.

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Check out more photos from this incredible event

Teachers and students alike from Compton High School were moved by the experience and the message of the movie. Here’s what a few of them had to say:

“I grew up in the 50s and 60s, so I experienced many of these racial issues and tensions,” said Compton High School English Teacher Bobette Phillips. “My students had no clue of the struggle that these people went through at that time. My students are so media focused, so it is great to show them in their preferred medium the truth of what happened.”

Tenth Grade Student Twanna Flowers told EverFi, “My understanding of racial inequality only included slavery, I didn’t know about the protests and struggles during the civil rights movement. There’s still work to be done, but I’m glad the majority of the fight is over and people have equal rights.”

 

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EverFi’s 306 – African American History™ course was developed in collaboration with Dr. Clayborne Carson, Professor of History and Director of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University. Through the use of EverFi’s technology and instructional design expertise, historical events in African-American history come to life using engaging digital media, personalized learning simulations, and robust assessment. The course’s capstone activity is a short analytical reflection essay that invites students to examine selected topics from the course.

“During Black History Month I typically have each of my students do a report on one leader from the African-American community, but the 306 course gives students the opportunity to get an in-depth look at so many different figures from government, business, sports, politics, and many other fields, said ROP Teacher Katherine Diggs. “That type of learning is really powerful for my students.”

Congratulations to the Winners of the Montana Bankers Financial Scholars Blog Contest!

In the fall of 2014, EverFi, the Montana Bankers Association and its member banks launched a statewide blog competition open to all Montana students who recently completed the Montana Bankers Financial Scholars program. We asked these students to share their thoughts on a variety of topics, including the impact that this financial education course has had on their lives and the decisions they’ll make going forward.  We also asked them to share the dreams they have for the future and how their newfound financial knowledge has shaped those plans. We’d like to extend a big thank you to all of the students who submitted blog entries in this contest — your stories were truly inspiring.

We are thrilled to announce the winners of this year’s contest, Emilie and Renata, each of whom received a $500 scholarship. Here are their stories:

Winner #1

EmilieSEmilie S.
Lima High School, MT
Sponsored by Montana Bankers Association and Pioneer Federal Savings & Loan

Becoming a photographer seems like an easy job to do. However, most people don’t realize that there are different kinds of photographers (landscape, portrait, black and white, wedding, medical, food, etc.) My dream is to become a well-known landscape photographer who displays her work in art galleries everywhere. Being a senior in high school this is a huge goal to try and accomplish. I have to learn about my finances and figure out how to manage myself on a long road of being a “starving artist”.

The Pioneer Federal Savings and Loan Financial Scholars program is helping me prepare myself for the crazy financial life I’m about to begin. This program showed me the basics of creating a savings/checking account, the power of interest, and different payment types that will keep me out of debt.

My parents opened a savings account for me around five years ago. At that point in my life I barely understood the concept of interest and what a savings account even was. I put the money I had from selling cows in my savings, which roughly added up to $3000 over the years. After going through this program I discovered that if every month I put money in my savings, my interest would help my money grow. Now after taking the advice from the Pioneer Federal Savings and Loan Financial Scholars program I have over $4,500 and that amount is growing every month. With this money I am gaining I can make the down payment on my brand new camera and still have enough to buy my books and supplies for college.

The dream of landscape photography will be a challenge, but with the Pioneer Federal Savings and Loan Financial Scholars program I feel ready to begin my new adventure. I’m on my way!

Winner #2

RenataRenata B.
Bozeman High School, MT
Sponsored by Montana Bankers Association and Big Sky Western Bank

Most likely one of the hardest things to do as a human being is to ask for someone else’s help; whether it be help fixing a bulb, writing a paper, or even worse things like personal matters, no one likes to admit that they are struggling. Unfortunately for modern America, more and more people are falling victim to the prideful stubbornness of not asking others about what to do with their money. I am not proud to admit that even I, a young high school student with minimal financial prowess, was ashamed to ask for monetary advice. The Big Sky Western Bank Financial Foundations program opened my eyes to a much broader perspective on how I should procure with my money management skills. From the insight on loans, credit, banking, saving, and even daily budgeting, this program has taught me more in one semester than I have learned throughout my entire life. I am currently employed at a local Veterinary clinic and could not be happier with my working atmosphere; however, before I signed up for the Big Sky Western Bank program, my paychecks didn’t stretch half as long as they should have.

My generation has been brainwashed into believing that we can simply rely on our parents and worry about saving later in life when we have a more stable career. This program dares that myth and challenges young people to start their life now instead of waiting for later. I am now saving 90% of my paycheck each month for college, directing the other 10% towards birthday and holiday gifts. I now actually enjoy saving and look forward to my bank statement! I sincerely hope that other people can experience the same change I did and that The Big Sky Western Bank Financial Foundations program can really make a difference in the present-day world.

 

Congratulations, Emilie and Renata!