December 2016 Center Link

Spring workshop series set

For your recertification or continuing education goals, please consider our workshop series. Topics for spring 2017 range from the Stock Market Game to using children’s literature to teach economics. 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.

“Life after High School” to debut

New in the spring 2017 workshop lineup is “Life after High School.” Subtitled “Navigating Education, Career and Debt,” this workshop starts with the fact that young peoples’ small choices may have big effects. The workshop is designed to give high school students the knowledge, resources and a solid decision-making framework to make prudent choices about education, training, and career and how to manage any associated costs. This is part of a statewide initiative; you may enroll in the JMU-offered workshop or find out more at this link.

State winners
From left, Callie Randolph, Marta Frederick and Lisa Long (not pictured: Walt Williamson).

Local teachers to be honored in Richmond Dec. 9

Two of the top three prizes in state economic education award competition for 2016 have been won by area teachers:

  • Callie Randolph and Marta Frederick of Skyline Middle School won second place in combined K-12 statewide competition for “Homemade Vs. Store-Bought Crepes.” The three-day lesson used an extended cost comparison to teach students about marketing, decision-making and cooking.
  • Lisa Long and Walt Williamson of Harrisonburg High School took third place statewide for creating “The Blue Streak Food Company,” a meal delivery business for teachers that involved students at every stage — from recipe selection to delivery.

In a separate statewide mini-grant competition, Sondra Colvin and Emily Hartman of South River Elementary School won first place. They used their mini-grant to start a “Coffee Cart” business at the school, involving their fourth and fifth grade students. The business was so successful that it expanded to become the “The South River Breakfast Cart,” complete with hand-made uniforms for the student employees who served teachers throughout the school.

These awards will be presented on Dec. 9 at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.

The local and state winners were honored at an Oct. 17 presentation sponsored by the Harrisonburg Rotary Club and the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Shenandoah Valley Economic Education, Inc. and JMU’s Center for Economic Education. Local awards include cash prizes, ranging from $250 to $1,000.

“Economics is important–and everybody understands that in a presidential election year,” said JMU economics professor William Wood, director of the university’s Center for Economic Education, at the presentation. “Economic education may even be more important than economics at a time such as this. Think about how different our campaign might be if large numbers of voters truly understood economics and did not fall for easy slogans.”

Russell Kohrs of the Massanutten Regional Governor’s School for Environmental Science and Technology was the grand prize winner locally. His project, “Exploring Energy: An Economic and Environmental Exploration of Solar Energy,” taught students important lessons on environmental principles and economic concepts.

The reserve grand prize went to Long and Williamson for “The Blue Streak Food Company.”

Virginia Munns of Smithland Elementary School was the first-place winner in the elementary division. Her project, “Auction Antics,” involved kindergarten students exchanging pennies for items ranging from pets to privileges to teach lessons about cost and choice.

In the middle school division, Allen J. Ruliffson of J. Frank Hillyard Middle School won first place honors for “Diamonds are Forever.” The project engaged all of Hillyard’s seventh graders in studies of the international market for diamonds.

In addition to the local awards, additional recognitions on October 17 included:

  • Beth Yelverton, librarian at Ottobine Elementary School, was the Shenandoah Regional Winner for the “Reading Makes Cent$” program, sponsored by the Virginia 529 college savings plan. Under Yelverton’s direction, Ottobine students read the most economics-relevant books in the Shenandoah region.
  • Hillyard’s Ruliffson, who was honored in the local competition, was named Virginia Social Studies Teacher of the Year. He also will be recognized at the annual meeting of the National Council for the Social Studies.

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

GEM Fair date set

The next GEM Fair presented by Union Bank & Trust has been set for March 8, 2017 at the JMU 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 the last GEM Fair:


Personal Finance books headed for local libraries

Shenandoah Valley Economic Education (SVEE), our funding organization, has issued a challenge to other groups to join in funding the “Reading Makes Cent$” program.

With SVEE’s invovlement, the public elementary schools in Harrisonburg City and Rockingham County will be provided with a set of economic and personal finance themed children’s books. SVEE intends, with the help of local partners, to provide
these books to all of the twenty elementary schools in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County who participate in the Reading Makes Cent$ program this school year. This will allow students and schools to take full advantage of the Reading Makes Cent$ program.

Reading Makes Cent$ is presented by Virginia529 College Savings Plan and the Virginia Council for Economic Education with input and support from the Virginia Association of School Librarians (VaASL). Through it, librarians can help K–5 students learn, understand and apply key SOL concepts such as saving and making good choices. The program also:

  • Rewards students for reading
  • Gives students the chance to win a $529 college savings account from Virginia529 College Savings Plan
  • Reminds students and their parents of the importance of saving for education after high school and ways to accomplish this

Additionally, the school earns three free books (with library binding) for the school library and the opportunity to earn an additional $500 worth of financial literacy books for the school library if it has the highest student participation rate in its VaASL region. Ottobine Elementary School has won the $500 worth of books for the VaASL Shenandoah Region for two years because of its superior participation rate.

SVEE’s plan is to make the $500 worth of books available to all local schools to further promote financial literacy and enhance the ability of all students to benefit from the Reading Makes Cent$ goals. These schools will commit to the teaching required by the program in return for receiving the books.

Details for the current school year including featured books, instructional materials, program applications, and the student Reading Challenge form may be found on the Reading Makes Cent$ Web site:

SVEE’s initial offer was to provide $5,000 if that amount were matched by others. Area Rotary Clubs and foundations have been contacted, and the goal is now within sight.


Economic Episodes book wins national award

A textbook co-authored by JMU’s William C. Wood and Mark C. Schug of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee received the Gold Curriculum Award for 2016 from the National Association of Economic Educators. Economic Episodes in American History was described by one of the judges as “one of the best combinations of Economics and American History I’ve seen.”
“It was great to have our work recognized in this way,” Wood said. At the same NAEE meeting, Wood had also received the Henry H. Villard Award for excellence in economic education research. Wood explained that Economic Episodes in American History was written to enrich the standard U.S. history course by adding economic reasoning and content to key episodes such as the Civil War and the Great Depression.

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.

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

♦ Return to JMU Economic Education home page