Maps Gets Biz Kid$ Grant to Train Teachers in Financial Education

Back in 2008, Cori Frauendiener, Director of Education Partnerships for Maps Credit Union, sat on the Oregon Legislative Education Task Force for Civics and Financial Education, and she saw a gap. “When people go to college to teach social studies, they study every imaginable field of social science,” she said, “except financial literacy.”

As an advocate within the Credit Union Movement, she knew how important it is that children learn the fundamentals of good financial management. “But we aren’t going to get anywhere,” she said, “until we teach our teachers how to teach it.”

She proposed a change to the standards for teacher education, but the political climate at the time was not friendly to increasing requirements.

Fast-forward to 2012. Maps Credit Union applied for a grant through the National Credit Union Foundation’s (NCUF) Biz Kid$ Financial Education Grants program. These grants fund innovative programs that improve the financial education of youth through the use of the Biz Kid$ program, which includes an Emmy-winning television show and a host of other resources.

Frauendiener suggested partnering with Western Oregon University, which is known for its strong education program, to work financial education into social studies teachers’ training. She called some people she knew at the university, and the next day the dean of the college of education gave her the green light to start working on a program.

She teamed with Dr. Ken Carano, who coordinates the university’s Master’s in Teaching program, and together they came up with a novel solution. As students train to be teachers and take classes in how to create lesson plans, why not have them create Biz Kid$ lesson plans incorporating videos from the show?

Not only would it teach budding teachers how to do financial education, but it would provide a library of lesson plans that teachers anywhere could use in their classrooms.

The first year was a great success, and this year Maps got its third Biz Kid$ grant to continue the program.

“Currently we have 17 lesson plans,” said Frauendiener. “And we have uploaded them to our website for anyone to use at any time. This makes it easy for teachers to include Biz Kid$ training in their classrooms. The lesson plans are already done for them.”

Two teachers at Washington Elementary School in Woodburn, Oregon have even started creating dual-language Biz Kid$ lesson plans in English and Spanish. And Frauendiener and her team have started offering small stipends for quality Biz Kid$ lesson plans, all of which they plan to make freely available on the Maps website.

This fall the team will have a booth at a joint conference of the Oregon Councils for Teachers of English and Social Studies, and are hoping to host a breakout session.

The NCUF grant will support the efforts to get Biz Kid$ into classrooms through the lesson plans and through reaching out to educators at the conference and beyond.

“Biz Kid$ is a marvelous program,” said Frauendiener. “It’s interactive. It’s fun for the kids. This is a great way to get it into the hands of teachers who can take it into their classrooms.”

Questions about this story? Contact James Pearson: 206.340.4790, jpearson@nwcua.org.

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