Becoming Financially Fit
Published: September 12, 2013
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Students in Abington Heights High School's Junior Writers Workshop class will be getting the chance to flex their financial muscles, thanks to a new partnership with Penn Security Bank and Trust.
The EverFi Financial Literacy platform, part of the Penn Security Financial Scholars program, has recently been added to the mandatory class for all 11th-grade students. Previously, students in the Junior Writers Workshop focused on SAT preparations, resume building, career search and the required graduation project.
Vicki Jones, the director of language arts services for Abington Heights School District, explained that the new program helps fill what administrators felt was a district-wide void.
"EverFi is something brand-new and something we felt our students had a need for," she said. "In the past, we've had students elect to take business classes that focused on financial literacy but, as a district, we felt it was important for all students to take it and it fit in with the literacy component of the Junior Writers Workshop course."
The EverFi Financial Literacy course consists of 10 units, offering six hours of programming aimed at teaching, assessing and certifying students in a variety of financial topics; such as credit scores, insurance, credit cards, student loans, mortgages, taxes, stocks, savings and 401K accounts. The self-guided platform is entirely web-based and tracks the progress and score of each participant. Students who successfully complete the course receive certification in financial literacy.
Thomas P. Tulaney, executive vice president and chief lending officer at Penn Security Bank and Trust, explained that a program like EverFi is essential to help students during critical economic times.
"In the current economic environment, it is more important than ever to assist young people with the skills to navigate an increasingly complex financial system," he said. "We are excited to offer students an innovative educational experience that uses digital learning and gaming to assist in teaching this important topic."
According to EverFi's website, course curriculum is independently designed, developed and aligned to established or emerging national or state standards. Former full-time teachers are employed by EverFi to establish best practices for teachers across the United States. EverFi advocates a blended learning approach where students establish base knowledge online and then teachers further explain basic tenets of financial literacy in the classroom.
"The Junior Writers Workshop course makes the difference between a good college applicant and a great applicant," Jones said. "The EverFi piece is just one component of the class; a lot of it is student-driven. EverFi is a nice instructional piece and students can gain a lot from it but there is also so much more going on in the class, such as the resume building experience and the graduation projects."
Currently, Abington Heights, Old Forge and Scranton School Districts participate in the Penn Security Financial Scholars program.
The approximately 10 teachers at Abington Heights who teach the Junior Writers Workshop class have all been trained on how to facilitate the program.
"From the small rural towns to major cities across the United States, EverFi technology is literally transforming how students learn," said Tom Davidson, EverFi chief executive officer. "Penn Security Financial Scholars is critical to the success of our mission to ensure that these cutting-edge tools reach all communities."