Our mission is to promote economic literacy in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Here are some of the things we can offer you to help:


Upcoming events

  • Life After High School
    September 29, 2017 at 8:30 am,
    Mary Baldwin University

  • Reading Makes Cent$
    October 12, 2017 at 3:45 pm,
    Cub Run Elementary School

  • "New" Children's Chapter Books
    October 26, 2017 at 3:45 pm,
    220 University Boulevard, Harrisonburg

  • Elementary Tool C.H.E.S.T.
    November 16, 2017 at 3:45 pm,
    Peak View Elementary School

  • Secondary Tool C.H.E.S.T.
    November 28, 2017 at 3:45 pm,
    220 University Boulevard, Harrisonburg

  • Econ and the Environment
    December 6, 2017 at 3:45 pm,
    220 University Boulevard, Harrisonburg

  • Econ in US History
    December 7, 2017 at 3:45 pm,
    220 University Boulevard, Harrisonburg

Mini-grants available

Here’s a small grant program that may be of interest to area educators. The purpose is to provide seed money up to $250 to assist Virginia teachers to expand and promote economic and/or financial education in their K-12 classrooms. Grant applications must be received by the Virginia Council on Economic Education by November 1, 2017. Decisions will be made and checks mailed in early December 2017. Here’s a link to the application form:


PCHS students get national ranking

Page County High School has brought home a top-15 national ranking for excellence in personal finance instruction.

The school was recognized April 19 in New York City for students’ no. 14 ranking on a standardized test offered by Working in Support of Education (w!se).

PCHS teacher Dianna Alger, who instructed the students in personal finance, represented the school at the New York presentation honoring the “100 Best w!se High Schools Teaching Personal Finance.”

“I am so very proud of my students for doing so well on the w!se Financial Literacy Certification test.  It was an honor to represent them and Page County High School at the ceremony this year,” Alger said.

This is the school’s second year to be nationally ranked, following last year’s no. 26 ranking.

Personal finance, the study of individual money management and wealth building, is part of a required economics and personal finance course now mandatory for graduation from Virginia high schools.

“It’s super for Dianna’s students to go up in the rankings even as the competition is getting tougher,” said Dr. William C. Wood, director of the James Madison University Center for Economic Education.

Wood pointed out that schools in 46 states participated in this year’s w!se certification program, up from 36 five years ago. The JMU Center supports personal finance education in the Shenandoah Valley, with funding from Shenandoah Valley Economic Education, Inc.

Working in Support of Education (w!se) is a New York-based educational not-for-profit focused on promoting student financial literacy nationwide, and sponsored by Voya Financial®.

First established in 2003, w!se’s award-winning Financial Literacy Certification program provides teachers with a curriculum and instructional resources to teach personal finance and measure students’ financial literacy through w!se’s Certification Test.

Students who pass the test are designated Certified Financially Literate™. w!se students in 46 states receive close to 6 million hours of personal finance instruction annually.

Here’s this year’s video on the program:

Reading Makes Cent$ lessons posted


JMU’s Lynne Stover continues to play a key role in the state delivery of the “Reading Makes Cent$” program sponsored by the Virginia Council on Economic Education and Virginia 529. The program includes free economics-related books for the libraries, associated instructional materials, and competitions for the students. Lessons authored by Stover and edited by the Virginia Council on Economic Education are available for each title. For the new school year, the three featured titles are:


My Rows and Piles of Coins by Tololwa M. Mollel, described as the story of a resourceful and thoughtful boy. The story is set in Tanzania in the 1960s.

Rock, Brock, and the Savings Shock by Sheila Bair, the story of two brothers who have very different attitudes about dealing with money.

Lemonade in Winter by Emily Jenkins illustrated by G. Brian Karas, a story about sibling entrepreneurship.

Here again is the link to the lessons: Reading Makes Cent$ lessons

Kohrs wins top state award

Russell Kohrs

Russell Kohrs of the Massanutten Regional Governor’s School has won the top prize in the open state economic education awards competition sponsored by the Virginia Council on Economic Education.

The winning project was “Concentrating on Copper: An Exploration in Mineral Commodities,” developed at Broadway High School. This project combined earth science principles and economic concepts to show students the importance of finite resources.

Since completing the project at Broadway, Kohrs has joined the faculty of the Massanutten Regional Governor’s School for Environmental Science and Technology in Mt. Jackson.

Kohrs will be recognized at a December 11 presentation in Richmond.

The Kohrs project had earlier won the grand prize in local competition sponsored by the Harrisonburg Rotary Club and the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce.

GEM Fair gets new sponsor: Thanks, Union Bank & Trust!

Union_logo_2c_354_k_pUnion Bank & Trust is now the presenting sponsor of the Global Entrepreneurship Marketplace Fair (GEM Fair). Held each year at James Madison University, the GEM Fair brings together Mini-Economics from throughout the area for a simulated international marketplace.

“We very much appreciate the sponsorship and the financial boost it will bring to this event,” said Dr. William C. Wood, director of the JMU Center for Economic Education.

March 9, 2016 is now set as the date of the next GEM Fair presented by Union Bank & Trust. The venue for 2016 is JMU’s Festival Conference Center. The day will include a Roll Call of the Mini-Economy nations, market session, and awards ceremony. Here’s a link to more on the GEM Fair.

Ruliffson wins national award

Allen Ruliffson addresses a national audience of economic educators in St. Petersburg.
Allen Ruliffson addresses a national audience of economic educators in St. Petersburg.

Allen J. Ruliffson, who teaches seventh grade social studies at J. Frank Hillyard Middle School, has received the highest award given for middle school teaching of economic content by the Council for Economic Education.

Ruliffson was named the 2015 winner of the Council’s middle school John Morton Excellence in the Teaching of Economics Award.

Ruliffson, a past winner of local and state competitions, was encouraged to enter the competition by Lynne F. Stover of the James Madison University Center for Economic Education. “Allen has consistently done excellent work that makes economics real for the middle school population,” Stover said.

“This recognition reflects that teacher excellence makes a difference, and your project exemplifies the importance of economic and financial education as critical to students’ future success,” said Council Vice President Gwen Pajotte in notifying Ruliffson of his winning entry.

In support of his application, Ruliffson submitted material on career accomplishments in economic education, along with a local award-winning lesson plan, “Barracuda Barrel,” that used a “Shark Tank”-like competition among students to teach economic history.

Ruliffson was recognized in St. Petersburg, Florida, at the October meeting of the Council for Economic Education and the National Association of Economic Educators.

The award includes a $1000 check and the trip to St. Petersburg, where Ruliffson shared best practices with colleagues in a session coordinated by the Council.

The awards criteria call for nominees to “exhibit innovative approaches to economic and financial education using multiple teaching approaches.” “Allen’s work does all that and more,” Stover said.

Ruliffson’s previous prize-winning work included lesson plans and entire economics units that combined in-class instruction, field trips and technology projects. One entry took a traditional year-end field trip to Hershey Park and turned it into a multi-disciplinary learning project.

Ruliffson’s previous work has included solo projects and team projects. “Barracuda Barrel” was done jointly with Hillyard teacher Kim Fawley and technology resource teacher Alice Blair.

“Allen’s work shows how much seventh graders can learn when sound economics is combined with excellent presentation,” said Jerry Scripture, board chair of Shenandoah Valley Economic Education Inc. SVEE provides funding for a comprehensive economic education program locally.