Buffalo’s Financial Literacy Program

Wyoming Department of Education > Uncategorized > Buffalo’s Financial Literacy Program

Dear Superintendents,

We’ll be brief this week, as it is summertime and the readership is probably minimal at this point.  Nonetheless, I hope you’re finding some time off and away, and have some great vacation plans ahead of you. Happy summer!

Vision & Focus

Because of the inherently independent character of the Wyoming people, our state and our schools are poised to lead the nation in education on several fronts: (1) remaining focused like a laser beam on the purpose of education, which is rooted in its long-standing and timeless purpose, summed up in four words: ‘to learn to think;’ (2) the priority of education, which is represented by the three key parties of education: parents, teachers and students, and that crucial relationship between each; and (3)  the purview of education, which is about state sovereignty and local control – when this is surrendered, we give up our identity, values, culture and future. More on each next time …

The Primary Priority   

The application to request participation in the Wyoming Teacher Apprenticeship pilot went out to district superintendents on June 15. The three school districts chosen will be notified by July 8, and will begin collaboration with the WDE and PTSB this summer to stand up the local program. We are excited to see several applications coming in already. The WTA Advisory Group will be meeting on June 28th to receive an update on progress and provide input.

In the Spotlight

Financial literacy is critical to a successful transition from high school to the ‘real world.’ At Cloud Peak Elementary in Buffalo, they start them early. Cloud Peak fourth grade teacher Jamie Irish recently shared highlights of the school’s Mini Bank system with the Wyoming State Board of Education. Started in 2016, the bank currently has 202 active accounts between its elementary and middle school customers. The bank is a collaboration between the school and First Interstate Bank in Buffalo, and savings accounts offer 4% interest up to $10,000 in a student’s account. Interest paid on amounts over $10,000 is applied at the bank’s regular interest rate.

Every Wednesday is ‘bank day’ and you’ll see students come to school early just to submit their deposits (imagine that). Fifth grade Mini Bank directors are in place and prepared to receive the students’ deposits, provide a receipt and reports on how their money is doing. The Mini Bank is only available through eighth grade, after which they open a standard savings account with First Interstate Bank or move their money elsewhere. Although the system does help students grow a little nest egg, the biggest perk of the Mini Bank is that students learn about money and finances through experience. Thank you Jamie and Cloud Peak Elementary school, you’re in the spotlight this week for empowering your students to take ownership of their financial future.

Mark Your Calendars

In partnership with Marzano Research, the WDE will offer a second opportunity for educators and leaders to come together in a regional session and explore the pandemic effect on achievement. Schools and Districts are encouraged to register a team of up to eight participants to attend these face-to-face events. These events are from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m., with a working lunch (provided). Register here.

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