Draft September 2017 Center Link

Fall workshop series set

Fall workshops from the Center for Economic Education at JMU cover a wide variety of topics, from the Stock Market Game to economics in children’s literature. Each workshop features materials and instruction that coordinate with the Virginia Standards of Learning. Registration is free and materials are free. When you participate, you receive a certificate with details of topics and hours for your recertification. For details and registration now: go straight to the workshop page.

Long, Williamson win top award

Lisa Long and Walt Williamson of Harrisonburg High School have won the grand prize in local economic education competition. The competition is sponsored by the Harrisonburg Rotary Club and the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce in cooperation with Shenandoah Valley Economic Education, Inc.  The winning project was “Joe to Go!” In this project, high school special education students learned economic concepts and life skills while running an in-school coffee and pastry business.

The top prize carries a $1,000 cash award.  All the local winners are to be recognized at a meeting of the Rotary Club on October 2.

The reserve grand prize in the competition was won by Nora Fletcher of J. Frank Hillyard Middle School for “Poverty in America: Addressing Disparities through Action.” This project provided a diverse group of seventh graders with a hands-on approach to understanding and exploring poverty in general and in the local area.

Other winners included:

  • First prize among the primary grades (K-3), won by Virginia Munns of Smithland Elementary School for “Volunteering Acts of Kindness.” This project emphasized child-driven monthly volunteer (acts of kindness) opportunities in teaching kindergarten students about goods, services, needs, wants and making choices.
  • First place for grades 4-5, won by Emily Hartman of South River Elementary School for “The South River Breakfast Cart.” In this project, special education students in grades K-5 learned valuable lessons about entrepreneurship and money skills in operating a breakfast cart. (Mixed-grade projects compete at the highest grade level represented.)
  • First place in the middle school division, to Callie Randolph and Holly Kincaid of Skyline Middle School for “Monster Factory,” a cross-grade collaboration in which sixth graders learned the economics of production as they made cloth monsters custom-designed by kindergarteners.
  • Second place in the middle school division, to Allen J. Ruliffson of J. Frank Hillyard Middle School for “Learn it. Sell it. Love it. On eBay,” a three-day lesson that used an extended cost comparison to teach students about marketing, decision-making and cooking.
  • First place in the high school division, to Russell Kohrs of the Massanutten Regional Governor’s School for Environmental Science and Technology. The winning project was “Over the Cliff or Sustaining the System: An Exploration of EROI (Energy Returned on Energy Invested).” The Massanutten Regional Governor’s School for Environmental Science and Technology is a joint project of local school systems hosted in Mt. Jackson by the Shenandoah County Schools.

Economic education locally is supported by Shenandoah Valley Economic Education Inc., a nonprofit organization that combines business and school contributions to fund the field work of the James Madison University Center for Economic Education.

Mary Baldwin to host “Life After High School”

“Life After High School” is a special part of our workshop series this fall, set for September 29, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Mary Baldwin University. Below there’s more information or you may go straight to the registration page: ☑ REGISTER

“Life After High School: Navigating education, career and debt” is an important new workshop developed by the Virginia Council on Economic Education (VCEE) – provided at no charge. Sessions are conducted by VCEE’s affiliated university-based Centers for Economic Education, in partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.

Workshops and resources will assist teachers in helping students make informed decisions about:

  • setting goals and making choices, decision-making models to weigh costs & benefits and tradeoffs
  • investing in yourself
  • choosing a post-graduation path: college, another
  • education avenue or career
  • choosing a college and a major
  • paying for higher education – loans, grants and scholarships – what to consider and how to apply
  • managing money and controlling debt

To register and for full schedule, visit VCEE.org. For more information, contact Sarah Hopkins Finley at shfinley@vcu.edu or 804 827-1211.

GEM Fair date set

The next GEM Fair presented by Union Bank & Trust has been set for March 7, 2018 at the JMU’s Festival Conference and Student Center. “GEM Fair” stands for “Global Entrepreneurship Marketplace Fair.” The GEM Fair features an opportunity for students from Mini-Economies across the region to meet in a simulated international economy. The day includes a Roll Call of the Mini-Economy nations, market session, and awards ceremony. For more information on the GEM Fair, contact Lynne Stover at (540) 568-3248 or send email. Here’s a video on a previous GEM Fair:

Note: To become eligible to participate in the GEM Fair, attend the Sept. 20 workshop and learn how to use the Mini-Economy in your classroom: ☑ REGISTER

Reading Makes Cent$ launches new website

Reading Makes Cent$, a joint venture of the Virginia Council on Economic Education and the Virginia 529 college savings plan, has launched a new website to support the effort. This year’s titles include What Pet Should I Get? by Dr. Seuss, Isabel’s Car Wash by Sheila Bair and Whoosh! Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions by Chris Barton. The school with the highest percentage of students participating in the reading program in each region will win $500 worth of books for the school library. (The regions are those designated by the cooperating Virginia Association of School Librarians, VaASL.)

JMU’s Lynne Stover continues to play a key role in the state delivery of “Reading Makes Cent$,” coordinating title selection and lesson plans for the series. Below is a direct link and preview of the page where lessons for the 2017-2018 school year will be posted:

Reading Makes Cents


Ruliffson in the spotlight

J. Frank Hillyard Middle School’s Allen J. Ruliffson was in the spotlight at back-to-school time, as the Council for Economic Education chose him for its “Teacher Spotlight” feature. The nationally distributed email described Ruliffson’s technology-based learning approach and his ability to engage students. Below we’ll include the spotlight feature as it appeared, and below that the text so you may follow the links if you wish:

Teacher Spotlight: Allen J. Ruliffson

CEE is proud to shine the spotlight on Allen J. Ruliffson, a social studies teacher at J. Frank Hillyard Middle School.

Selected as the 2016 Virginia Social Studies Teacher of the Year by the Virginia Council for the Social Studies, Mr. Ruliffson is no stranger to awards. He was also named the 2015 winner of CEE’s Middle School John Morton Excellence in the Teaching of Economics Award.

Mr. Ruliffson’s secret to his success is his technology-based learning approach. Rather than focusing on lectures and notes, Mr. Ruliffson engages his students where their interests lie – technology.

“In the past few years, especially being part of the computer pilot, I’ve kind of branched out a lot more,” said Mr. Ruliffson. “My kids make movies, they do other presentations, other multimedia things, we use the internet a lot.”

We wish Allen Ruliffson the best of luck with his teaching, and with his work with the James Madison University Center for Economic Education.


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The JMU Center for Economic Education’s teacher outreach program is a sponsored program of Shenandoah Valley Economic Education, Inc., a nonprofit corporation that seeks to promote economic literacy and understanding of the free enterprise system in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.


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The JMU Center for Economic Education is an affiliate of the Virginia Council on Economic Education.


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