Written By: Dan Hebert, Jump$tart Coalition Director of Professional Development
For more than 20 years, the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy (jumpstart.org) has been dedicated to building a financially literate future for our nation’s youth. And since its inception, a key focus has been on providing support and professional development for K-12 classroom teachers.
One of the organization’s first resources was the Jump$tart Clearinghouse (jumpstartclearinghouse.org), which is an online database of personal finance education tools – from videos, to articles to online interactive activities, to full curricula to individual lessons. It was one of the first places teachers could go for quality, vetted personal finance resources they could use in the classroom.
As demand for personal finance education grows, so does the need to develop more teachers, which is why the coalition developed its National Educator Conference (jumpstart.org/NEC) and its teacher training model called Jump$tart Financial Foundations for Educators®. According to Jump$tart Coalition partner PwC, “69 percent of educators say a lack of qualified teachers is a top challenge for financial education.” (Report: Bridging the Financial Literacy Gap.)
The J$FFE Model was developed over three years and pilot tested in five locations—Arizona, Chicago, Colorado, South Carolina. and Vermont. Each of the pilot locations conducted pre- and post-event assessments; and then another assessment six months after the training event. Research, conducted by the National Endowment for Financial Education, shows that teachers increased their knowledge, retained the knowledge after six months, made positive changes in their own financial habits, and integrated what they learned into their classrooms.
At NEC, Jump$tart Coalition brings together the classroom resources, support, and expertise needed to engage, inspire and appreciate classroom educators from across the country. This annual conference has a dedicated exhibit hall and the opportunity to network with other teachers from the United States, and teachers leave with 15 professional development hours. Additionally, while NEC was always subsidized, the conference is now free for teachers to attend. It’s our way to eliminate barriers for continuing education.
An important goal of NEC is to give our partners a platform for sharing their expertise and resources. It is important to note that in past years, AFCPE members have done free financial counseling mini sessions for our teachers at the event.
The J$FFE (jumpstart.org/jffe) model is designed to help local organizations provide K-12 teachers with standard, consistent, and effective professional development that improves teachers’ own level of financial literacy, improving their confidence in, and enthusiasm for, teaching personal finance in the classroom. Delivered as a toolkit, J$FFE helps ensure a sufficient and consistent level of competence for teachers of personal finance across states and professional disciplines, regardless of which organization or institution delivers the training.
Jump$tart Coalition President and CEO Laura Levine said, “J$FFE focuses on teachers as adult consumers—with the goal of improving their own levels of financial literacy, to give them the knowledge and confidence to teach personal finance more effectively.”
How to Help
While J$FFE was designed to be used by community organizations, AFCPE members that are nonprofit organizations are able to license the model. Those that are for-profit entities can work with nonprofit or government partners to create a training event. AFCPE members can work with a Jump$tart Coalition affiliate (or other organization) to provide teacher education in their state.
To obtain a free license to use the model, AFCPE members need to demonstrate experience in teacher training and event management—or have a committed partner that brings that experience to the table. Organizers also must agree to conduct a minimum of 18 hours of training; follow the model, except where customization is permitted; and to participate in assessment research.
It is J$FFE designed to be flexible and customizable – as long as the learning objectives are reached. Most importantly, we have research that shows it works, that the model uses the expertise of many of our partners, and actually changes behaviors in a positive way.
Jump$tart Coalition Director of Professional Development Dan Hebert said, “Experience and studies show us that using J$FFE changes behaviors and can help empower teachers. As we educate and support more teachers, we also build a strong foundation for a more financially literate future.”
Jump$tart Coalition Affiliates
Jump$tart Coalition was founded as a national coalition, but as local groups began to form, Jump$tart established its network of state affiliates to assist them. Today, the state coalition network consists of 51 affiliated organizations — including Greater Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico.
AFCPE members interested in working with a local Jump$tart affiliate, can reach out directly to the state coalition in their area at jumpstart.org/states. Or for additional assistance, contact:
- Bill Cheeks, Eastern States Regional Director, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Variny Yim, Western States Regional Director, email@example.com