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Financial literacy

by Brandi Miller for the FCT

The summer break is in sight and students are counting down the days to the much-anticipated vacation.  Besides being the month before summer vacation begins, April is also financial literacy month.  Finances and money is one thing all students will need to be able to manage at some point in their lives so Community Spirit Bank is doing their part to educate area students and help them get a jump start on this very important part of everyone’s life.

Dr. Bice, the State Superintendent of Education, is encouraging technical teachers to bring awareness to the different programs that are taking place.  Thanks to the public partnership of Community Spirit Bank area students in Red Bay, Russellville, Vina, Belgreen, Tharptown, Phil Campbell, East Franklin, Belmont, and Tremont High Schools were able to participate in the “Money Smart, Digital Literacy, and Commons” online programs.

“Community Spirit Bank is proud of our commitment to our area schools through the EverFi Money$mart program,” said Brad Bolton, President and CEO of Community Spirit Bank.  “We believe there is nothing that can prepare students for their future better than financial literacy.  The decisions they will make for loans, deposit and investment decisions are those that have effects on them for years to come.  We believe these students are better prepared to face the world after executing these classes.  We are thankful for the teachers who use this program as part of their teaching platform and for the support of the administrators at our schools.”

Each school that participated in the program had great things to say about how beneficial this was and would be to students in the future.  Upon completion of the programs, students are able to recognize the impact of financial decisions and apply critical thinking skills to real world financial simulation exercises.  At Red Bay High School, 98 percent of the business students completed nine modules in “Money$mart” and seven modules in “Digital Literacy” scoring at least a 70 or above in all 16 assessments.

Money$mart is a teaching tool that teaches, assesses, and certifies students in critical financial concepts through the latest online, interactive curriculum.  The curriculum includes animations, video, performance based activities and pre and post formative assessments.  Digital Literacy and Commons offers a cutting edge instructional design to educate teens about the digital world, technology safety, preventing identity theft and cyberbullying by using performance based activities and pre and post formative assessments.

“The skills students learn in classes like creating Multimedia, learning about internet resources, the viral world, calculating net pay, exploring career, banking options, creating a budget, credit scores and personal finance are valuable skills students will find beneficial in most aspects of their life,” said Sarah Hardin, RBHS Business Education teacher.  “I want to continue making improvements and adding more courses and thanks to Community Spirit Bank, Vault and Venture are two new courses that have been added through the Money$mart program.  Venture teaches students how to be an entrepreneur, while Vault teaches the students the difference between needs and wants.  Vault also teaches about saving, budgeting and how to make the right financial decisions for the future.”

A complimentary breakfast was served to kick off the program.  Besides Bolton, students were greeted by Tammy Montgomery, Executive Vice-President, Chief Operations Director and Director of Human Resources, Emily Mays, the Marketing Director, Executive Assistant, and Charri Lindsay the Teller Operations Supervisor.  The breakfast was a great way to start the program and the program is a great way to help ensure the students make responsible financial decisions as adults.