A Closer Look at Lodi

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- By Cathy Washer, Superintendent at Lodi USD

In the California History Social Science Framework for students in grade 12, Chapter 18 refers to the Principles of Economics. Lodi USD senior students are required to complete a semester course called, "Economics" that is based on the History Social Science Framework in order to graduate. In this course, students begin learning about economics from a personal perspective starting with personal budgeting and moving outward to their role in the world. Teachers use this opportunity to provide activities to guide students in the awareness of financial understanding. Many teachers use Financial Fridays as a way to develop financial literacy throughout the semester. Based on a financial identify chosen, students learn to develop a budget, pay bills, save money and invest. Students enjoy the activities and indicate the activities provide them insight into choices for their future and what they hope to accomplish.

From teacher Lupita Macedo, Bear Creek High School

I pick a financial topic to cover.
Example: Checking accounts and savings.

I do a power point presenting information:

  • What they are
  • Different types
  • Why it's important / convenience
  • How to open one
  • Funds needed
  • Interest rates / fees etc.

I make it engaging by providing video clip examples, readings, notes and more. Then I have the students do research on the topic by researching a bank or financial institution.

The next lesson we do is a simulation in class by practicing writing checks and keeping a check book balanced. We also go over how to read a bill and write a check.

Topics I have covered:

  • Types of investments
  • Retirement accounts, 401K, 402b, TSA, CD, MMA, IRA...
  • How to build a good credit score
  • College costs, loans and debt
  • Cost of buying a car
  • Renting
  • Credit cards and debt
  • Loans and interest rates
  • Mortgages
  • Saving for retirement
  • Investing in the stock market
  • Jobs, job pay, benefits, careers
  • Etc...

My students really enjoy learning about how to handle and manage their finances.

From teacher Jason Johnson, Bear Creek High School

Each Friday we explore a different element of practical economics/personal finance. 

Topics vary from:

  • How to survive after high school
  • Buying a car
  • Why did I lose so much money on my paycheck?
  • What is a credit score?
  • Saving for adult life and retirement
  • How to play the market
  • Is Bitcoin here to stay?

Different lessons are presented in different ways/mediums. On the paycheck lesson, they learn about hourly vs. salary, benefits, taxes, how to read and create a paystub, and how to write themselves a pay check. For the stock market, the kids learn the difference between grades of stocks, initial public offerings, reading a ticker, researching what makes or breaks stocks/prices, investing tools, following the market in real time through a simulation offered in our Google Suite.

This past week for example students were all asked to write down a question they have about college/military/tech/vocational school (getting in, getting out, and how to afford it) in their notebooks. I then invited the students to write their questions on the white board. About 20 of them did. I then tackle the questions one at a time in a discussion format. I always get very positive feedback from the kids on this particular Finance Friday.