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Middle Schoolers learning financial literacy in STREAM
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Middle Schoolers learning financial literacy in STREAM

Many students graduate never writing a check or interviewed for a job. They are then thrown into adulthood missing key skills. Our NDA STREAM class is bridging that gap. Every middle school student is given a virtual bank account at the beginning of the year. They have a web site they log into to see bank records just like a regular bank. They are taught to keep a check register on paper that is just like a check book. Once a month they need to reconcile the bank account and make sure their paper register and the online bank statement match.

The students are learning to write out paper checks. With everything online these days this is a lost skill. They have to fill out all of the check properly in order to purchase items in the store. They also must sign their name. We were originally surprised how many students did not know how to write the date properly and sign their name. Now they all know how to do this.

Financial literacy is woven into STREAM on a daily basis. The students earn class cash by completing classroom jobs and participation in class. Its a great incentive for all students. They want to be able to make purchases in the class store. The are figuring how how to earn money to purchase items. They determine what jobs they need to get to make enough money. 

We have a "banker" who every day "pays" students for completing their jobs and awards class participation. If a student goes above and beyond they are "paid" extra. We have store "tellers" who learn to total up purchases, give change, and make sure checks are filled out properly.

This system works just like a real bank account. Its great practice for when they have their own account.

MyKidsBank is a secure, private, advertising-free tool designed to help teach personal money management in the home or classroom. Classroom teachers use the service as part of their financial literacy programs and to assist in their classroom economy.

A parent's take on the STREAM's banking project: After 1 yr of having this virtual bank account my son wanted his own real account. He already knew how to balance his account, and he knows how to transfer from his savings to checking account. I definitely think there are benefits to him learning about it. He was always I want I want I want, but now that he uses his own money, he spends more wisely. He is more focused on the importance of money and not spending it on useless things. 

A student's take on the STREAM banking project: The NDA STREAM Bank Account has helped me learn in a lot of ways. I know how to write a completed check, as well as manage a checking account, ledger, and a checkbook. I have also learned how to save and budget my money. ~ Cash K, 7th grade