In conjunction with the Fayette County Public Schools (FCPS), Junior Achievement of the Bluegrass (JA) made the decision to develop a financial literacy curriculum for seventh-grade students throughout the district. Fayette County Public School's Vision 2020 initiative recognized that financial literacy education should become an integral part of the educational programs at all grade levels and across the curriculum. With the endorsement of FCPS Superintendent Stu Silberman, JA's locally produced curriculum was introduced as a pilot program in the fall of 2008 and implemented throughout the district in 2009.
The goal of this six-week financial literacy program is to introduce students to important life skills and concepts such as budgeting, banking, understanding the difference between debit and credit cards, using credit responsibly, financial planning as well as investments such as stocks, bonds, and other securities. This JA curriculum is taught by volunteers from the Central Kentucky business community who also share their own knowledge and expertise with the students. Since financial literacy education is not mandated in schools today – students will only receive this education by participating in a Junior Achievement program. JA of the Bluegrass is also working to develop a financial literacy curriculum for all ninth-grade students that will build on the concepts introduced during their seventh-grade experience.
Basics: Money, Consumerism, Wants/Needs
Students describe how wants and needs influence consumer decisions. Students learn the basic difference between wants and needs; and then they learn about investments. In this first lesson the students invest $1,000 in a stock of their choice from the list provided. Over the course of the 6 lessons the students track their stocks on their personal tracking sheets. The students learn what the US Stock Indexes are, how they work, and how to check and monitor their stock purchases.
Factors in Consumer Decision making; advertising techniques, peer pressure, and status.
Students describe factors (brand name, price, quality, features, and availability) to consider when making consumer decisions and compare and evaluate products and services based on these. Students are given several worksheets with various advertising techniques displayed on them. Students learn the different types of advertising: pioneer, competitive, reminder, and institutional. After going through the worksheets and learning about consumerism and advertising, the students review their investments from Lesson One.
Basic Budgeting, cash flow planning, and goal setting
Students identify financial management practices and the purpose of budgeting and savings and explain why these practices are important in achieving personal financial goals. The students create a personal budget where they have a total income amount, an amount they place in savings, and then a listing of all of their expenses. Students fill out a Money Cash Flow Plan worksheet as well as check their investments from lesson one. Students also set a personal goal where they choose an item or service that they want to purchase, how much it will cost, and how much they need to save per week or per month to afford this item or service.
Debit/Credit, Banking Services, Checking/Savings accounts.
Students identify financial management practices and the purpose of budgeting, savings, banking services (checking and savings accounts; debit/credit; CDs). Students learn why these practices are important in achieving personal financial goals. The students learn all the different parts of a check, how to balance a checkbook using a checkbook register, and how credit cards work as in learning about being granted a line of credit.
Investments-Stocks, Bonds, Mutual Funds
Students identify financial management practices and the purpose of general types of investments (stocks, bonds, mutual funds). Students learn why these practices are important in achieving personal financial goals. Students learn that investing at an early age matters by studying investment charts and how they grow over time. At the end of lesson five, the students again check their stock status.
Long Range Financial Goals, college/career planning, Wrap up & review