Current California Jump$tart News & Press Releases

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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.

What is Working in California? A Look at Lodi

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With 54 schools and 30,000 students, and covering 350 square miles in the Central Valley of Northern California, Lodi Unified is the 30th largest school district in the state, and was the first to offer a two-day teacher training from California Jump$tart in 2016, to rave reviews. Here is an update on how their efforts have proceeded in the past two years:

  • Several elementary and secondary teachers voluntarily began including financial topics in the classroom almost immediately after the training.
  • The Board of Education has asked that all students receive training before graduation.
  • The required economics class currently includes about three weeks of instruction on financial literacy, via “Financial Fridays,” specific times that are set aside. For example, to cover Checking/Savings accounts, one teacher starts with a PowerPoint presentation and follows that with active learning--students research a financial institution; students practice writing checks and maintaining a check record.
  • The econ teachers are receiving training in personal finance teaching methods, and starting next year, their classes will be using materials from ngpf.org to synchronize their coverage of this important topic.
  • Two semester-long classes in personal finance receive math credits, one in the college-prep track and the other primarily in the alternative programs. Between 350 and 500 students take one of these courses per year.
  • Lodi has invited California Jump$tart to come back and present Financial Foundations for Educators to a whole new group of their teachers. We can’t wait!

2019 Message from the Board

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Hope your 2019 is off to a terrific start. The end of January is a perfect time to start a budgeting process for yourself—there are three steps: first, take your bank statement and credit cards and see where your money went in January. Then make a budget for February—don’t forget to include your significant other if you are budgeting for a family. Repeat monthly. The two-page form here will help you considerably. We promise that after the first time, this process should not take over an hour!

Next, to move the needle on financial training in California’s schools: An exciting new effort, “Project Groundswell,” has been started by our national affiliate, the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy. Starting Feb 4, you will be able to access a database to find out what your local high school is offering in personal finance subject matter. If your high school does not have data yet (and it probably won’t), please contact the administration and ask them the current status—the school has the capability to update the database. With enough parents calling their schools, that will start the conversation around the state! The site to access this will be posted on our website soon.

Even without a regulatory requirement, many districts are moving ahead. Read below for information about one success story, in Lodi, California. They started this process by asking California Jump$tart to come train the teachers in personal finance for their own sakes---we would be delighted to do the same for your district or county, at absolutely no cost to them. Let us know if we can help you make that happen by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Happy February!

- The California Jump$tart Coalition Board of Directors

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