Today, the Puerto Rico Department of Education announced leading education technology innovator EVERFI, Inc. as its official provider of digital financial education for public elementary and high schools as part of the Integral Program for Financial Education in schools initiative, which aims to develop healthy personal finance skills and habits in students. The announcement took place during a meeting held this morning at a school in Bayamon, Puerto Rico and included remarks from Senator Carmelo Ríos Santiago, Secretary of Education Dr. Julia Beatrice Keleher and financial planner Dr. Kurt Schindler.
“One of the requirements for this program is to empower all teachers, as well as the school directors, administrative personnel and program directors, to teach about personal finances,” said Puerto Rico Education Secretary Julia Keleher.
This agreement makes EVERFI’s digital financial curriculum available to every elementary and high school in Puerto Rico. EVERFI’s on-the-ground implementation team will aim to activate a minimum of 25 schools in the first year, expanding to more schools in subsequent years. Students will learn important skills such as credit, saving techniques, budgeting, retirement planning, different account types and more.
“Expanding our financial education offerings to Puerto Rico is a personal priority of mine because it is where my family’s story begins as the birthplace of my father,” said Ray Martinez, EVERFI President of Financial Education. “In the midst of recovery from Hurricane Maria and financial hardship, this partnership lays the foundation for empowering every public elementary and high school student with the skills needed for a strong and healthy financial future.
This partnership comes at a time when Puerto Rico Department of Education is working on evaluating the condition of the remaining schools that have yet to reopen from the devastating effects of Hurricane Maria, which wiped out power for the entire island and left more than half of schools without access to water.
“Our students have to be empowered to make health decisions, for example, avoiding impulse and unnecessary purchases, avoiding identity theft, etc.,” said Sheykirisabel Cucuta, Puerto Rico Department of Education Academic Director of Social Studies Programming. “To this end, the DOE designed an integrated lesson plan focusing on Math, Social Studies, and Health.”
Expanding education opportunity remains a cornerstone mission for Puerto Rico to give more students access to critical life subjects that will prepare them for success outside the classroom. Just 19 states require K-12 students to take a financial education course according to the Council for Economic Education’s Survey of the States 2018 report. This initiative seeks to bring researched-based, interactive financial literacy courses to Puerto Rico students, many for the first time.
EVERFI and the Department of Education recently launched Vault-Understanding Money course in Alfredo Dorrington for elementary school students and its @Work course for Alfredo Dorrington’s high school students. Additionally, over the past two weeks EVERFI trained more than 350 teachers on how to implement the courses and their contents. In the coming weeks and months, EVERFI will host additional teacher trainings as the course is made available to more schools and students.
EVERFI’s Vault-Understanding Money course immerses elementary school students in real-life, interactive scenarios to develop financial concepts, such as income and careers, credit and money management, saving and budgeting. EVERFI’s @Work course is a higher-level course aimed at high school students and adults who are actively making financial judgments. @Work proactively prepares individuals for wise money management decisions, such as family budgeting, investing, credit, borrowing and other topics needed in adulthood.