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Empowering Local Students with Financial Literacy Education

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Kathie Blanchette, VP of Education, Junior Achievement of Northern California (925) 465-1073 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Empowering Local Students with Financial Literacy Education

JA Finance Park Mobile
February 19 - March 1, 2019, Sonoma County Fairgrounds

Junior Achievement of Northern California organizes hands-on financial literacy learning experiences for youth in 23 counties.

SANTA ROSA, Calif. – Luther Burbank Savings is pleased to present the JA Finance Park® Mobile to the students of Sonoma County. Produced by Junior Achievement (JA) of Northern California, the JA Finance Park provides an innovative and interactive environment for middle school and high school students to learn personal finance literacy skills and some of the basic economics of life for the 21st century.

Underwritten by Luther Burbank Corporation Foundation and staffed by more than 70 Luther Burbank Savings employees, JA Finance Park Mobile will welcome over 1,200 students during nine days this month. Upon arrival, enrolled students will find multiple dynamic storefronts and kiosks where they will be able to engage with educational tools to gain an understanding of managing money effectively and efficiently through a variety of everyday scenarios.

To be eligible to visit the JA Finance Park, students will have completed 13 hours of class-led coursework. Junior Achievement provides the curriculum and works with teachers committed to helping their students achieve financial literacy.

“Luther Burbank Savings was founded in Santa Rosa more than 35 years ago, and along with all of our employees, I am thrilled to further our commitment to this community by introducing the JA Finance Park to Sonoma County for its inaugural visit. At the Bank, our guiding mission is to improve the financial future of our customers, employees, and shareholders,” said Simone Lagomarsino, President and Chief Executive Officer of Luther Burbank Savings. “Financial literacy is an important part of preparing students for their futures and empowering them as they mature into young adults. We are extremely proud to partner with Junior Achievement as they develop enriching content and programming to support this growth.”

“JA Finance Park offers future generations of Sonoma County leaders what it takes to own their economic success, plan a career path, and make smart academic decisions,” said Cristene Burr, President and CEO of Junior Achievement of Northern California. “We are excited to bring our first ever mobile program to Northern California and appreciate Luther Burbank Savings for their continued time and resources. We share a commitment to inspire today’s talented youth to overcome the challenges of managing their own finances and to help them value our training for a lifetime.”

Junior Achievement, the world’s largest organization dedicated to educating students from kindergarten to 12th grade about the fundamentals of finance, work readiness, and entrepreneurship, has reached more than 8 million students in 100 countries worldwide.

About Junior Achievement of Northern California
Junior Achievement of Northern California is one of over 100 local JA organizations across the nation that collectively form the largest organization dedicated to giving young people the knowledge and

skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their futures, and make smart academic and economic choices. JA programs—in the core content areas of work readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy—ignite the spark in young people to experience and realize the opportunities and realities of work and life in the 21st century. Junior Achievement of Northern California is part of Junior Achievement USA and operates in 23 Northern California counties.

About Luther Burbank Savings
Luther Burbank Savings, an FDIC insured, California-chartered bank is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Luther Burbank Corporation (NASDAQ: LBC) headquartered in Santa Rosa, California. Luther Burbank Savings executes on its mission to improve the financial future of customers, employees, and shareholders by providing personal banking and business banking services. Luther Burbank Savings is an equal housing lender. The Luther Burbank Corporation Foundation (Foundation) was established following the devastating North Bay fires of 2017 in an effort to facilitate the rebuilding of Sonoma County. It is funded by contributions from Luther Burbank Savings, its shareholders, directors, employees and business partners. The Foundation also supports the Bank’s community development and economic revitalization efforts. For additional information, please visit

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 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!

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