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Banks Needed for Lights, Camera, Save! Contest

Registration is officially open to all banks interested in partaking in the American Banker Association’s (ABA) Lights, Camera, Save! contest. This national contest encourages teens to make a video demonstrating the value of money management. All videos must be under 90 seconds long and submitted to a participating bank.

Each bank that registers for the contest will host the first round of judging. Each bank will select a winner to compete at the national level for several awards. The grand prize is $5,000, plus a scholarship for a teach at the winner’s school to attend the 2018 Jump$tart National Educator Conference.

For banks interested in hosting, the ABA Foundation will hold a free informational webinar today, Aug. 17 at 3 p.m. EDT. Register for the webinar by clicking here.

To register to become a hosting bank for the Lights, Camera, Save! contest, click here.

August 17, 2017 at 9:21 am

Financial Literacy Fun for the Summer

It is summer time and lesson plans are the furthest thing from teachers and parents’ minds. However, we have a few activities that can still teach your children about financial literacy this summer. Check out these fun and simple ways to bring up the topic.

Milk Jug Pigs– Take an afternoon and make homemade piggy banks out of old milk jugs. You can use the milk jug pigs to help your child save for various things. Even make it a competition between your kids to who can save more!

Lemonade Stand- Make a lemonade stand with your kids to help them learn about buying and selling. Have your kids practice with monopoly money so you can help answer their questions before the grand opening.

Free Fun Jar- Rather than planning expensive activities for the summer, have your kids make a “free fun jar.” Decorate an old mason jar and fill it with fun activities that happen to be free. Examples include going for a bike ride, going to the local park, checking out the library, playing hide and seek, etc. Fill the jar and talk about how these activities will not only be fun when the kids are bored but how the free activities will help save your family money.

Cleaning Coins– Does your child love science? Then why not mix science and financial literacy together! Have your kids clean coins using two simple ingredients – white vinegar and salt – and also use the time to educate them on the value of the coins you clean.

For more fun and simple ways to incorporate financial literacy this summer, check out the websites below.

25 Fun Money Activities for Kids

15 Fun Financial Literacy Crafts for Kids

17 Fun Money Activities for Kids

July 11, 2017 at 12:13 pm

17th Annual Iowa Jump$tart Educators Conference

The 17th annual Conference for Personal Financial Literacy was held on Wednesday, June 21, at DMACC’s FFA Enrichment Center in Ankeny. The conference was an opportunity for teachers and other educators to gain knowledge of the resources and tools available for financial literacy in the classroom.

(Click to enlarge photos/ view captions.)


Julie Ntem, project manager at Iowa College Aid, began the 17th annual conference by welcoming all attendees, volunteers and exhibitors. Kira Currier, the 2017 Money Smart Kid from Johnston Middle School, then read her winning essay answering the question: Do you think there is a connection between financial health and physical health? What can you do to become more financially healthy? To read Currier’s essay, click here.

Opening Keynote: Just 1 Person

Travis Lloyd shared personal stories about growing up being labeled as an “at-risk” kid and how he was able to develop into a well-rounded contributing member of society with the help of others. He shared with attendees that it took just 1 person to plant seeds that guided him to the path of health, happiness and success. Lloyd’s keynote reminded attendees of why they chose this path and how much they matter in the lives of their students.

Iowa Department of Education

Stefanie Wager, Financial Literacy Consultant at the Iowa Department of Education, gave an update of the new statewide financial literacy standards and discussed the work already being done to provide resources and professional development in financial literacy. To view the new standards, click here.

Breakout Sessions

Throughout the day, nine different breakout sessions were offered. These breakout sessions included: Budget Stimulation (Erick Danielson, Iowa College Access Network), Using Online Smart Borrowing Tools in Your Classroom (Marc Hendel, Iowa Student Loan), Financial Literacy for K-12 Educators (Kyle Osborne, TS Institute), Implementing NGPF Case Studies in the Personal Finance Classroom (Amanda Volz, St. Clair, Michigan Financial Management teacher and 2016-17 Next Gen personal Finance Fellow), Evaluating Online Resources (Sandra O’Brien, Kirkwood Community College), Leading Difficult Conversations with Students on Personal Finance (Kent Johnson, Consumer Credit of Des Moines), Running a Classroom Economy Simulation for a Jr. High Classroom (Ali Thompson, Southeast Polk Schools), Demystifying Credit Reports (Adriane Moline, Horizons, A Family Service Alliance), and Financial Aid Exposed! (Julie Voss and Elizabeth Sedrel, Iowa College Student Aid Commission).

Strategic Sharing Panel

During the lunch hour, Travis Lloyd facilitated a strategic sharing panel with three young adults coming from different backgrounds. The panelists walked attendees through their backgrounds, the financial challenges they faced while growing up and what they wish they would have been taught about finances. Two educators wrapped up the panel by sharing opportunities and challenges of teaching financial literacy in the classroom.


Attendees were also able to visit with exhibitors to learn about financial literacy resources available to them and their classroom.

Closing Keynote: How financial Education Needs to Change in this Era of Innovation

Amanda Volz from Next Gen Personal Finance provided an informative closing address on the most disruptive changes occurring in this era of innovation and the modernized resources Next Gen has to offer, including lesson plans, activities, case students and much more. To view Next Gen’s website, click here.

2017 National Conference Scholarship Winners

The winners of the Iowa Jump$tart scholarships to the 2017 National Educators Conference Nov. 3-5 in Washington, D.C. were announced. The scholarship recipients were: Dione Ferguson (Brody Middle School, Des Moines), Bryan Bjorklund (Mason City Community School District), Consuelo (Connie) Bates (North High School, Sioux City), Elizabeth Martinez (North High School, Des Moines), and Linda Vanden Bosch (Clarinda Community School District).

Next Gen Personal Finance also awarded a free trip to the National Educators Conference to one attendee. The winner drawn was Shontrelle Johnson (Poverty Reduction Specialist with Polk County).

Iowa Jump$tart Member Award

Joanne Kuster with Kuster Ltd. was awarded the Iowa Jump$tart third annual member award for her service with the coalition. Joanne has been a leader and has a true commitment to improving the personal financial literacy of all Iowans.  Joann was instrumental in helping grow the Money Smart Week program across the state.

Fiscal Fitness – Reaching it and Teaching it!

New this year was a bonus day two of the conference, Fiscal Fitness – Reaching it and Teaching it! Mike Johnson, financial planner and educator at Southeast Polk High School, lead attendees through important financial concepts via case studies, self-reflection and classroom lesson examples. David Strege with Syverson Strege and Company explained the ins and outs of investing. Nick Gerhart with Farm Bureau shared his expertise on insurance.

June 29, 2017 at 3:03 pm

Register now for the Financial Literacy and Economic Education Conference

Register now for the Council for Economic Education’s 56th Annual Financial Literacy & Economic Education Conference.

The Financial Literacy & Economic Education conference is scheduled for October 6-7 in Brooklyn, New York and will include over 100 workshops where attendees will learn to integrate personal finance and economics into the classroom.

Other reasons to attend include the following.

  • Outstanding networking opportunities – meet with other teachers and learn how they’re tackling the challenges of economic and financial literacy education.
  • Conference sessions and workshops will provide actionable tactics that will help incorporate economics and financial literacy in classes.
  • Gain valuable perspectives from the impressive line up of guest speakers.
  • Earn certificates of completion that may be applied toward CEU requirements.

To register, click here. Registration includes all conference sessions, the Friday evening reception, the awards dinner, the teacher’s breakfast and the teacher’s recognition luncheon. Register before June 30 and save 10 percent when using the code: Educator at checkout.

For questions, please contact Rosalie Polanco at

May 30, 2017 at 3:12 pm

Junior Achievement Biztown Summer Camp

Junior Achievement will be offering the fourth BizTown Summer Camp for children ages 10-13 (current 4th-6th grade students). The summer camp is an indoor, academic camp that will focus on financial literacy, entrepreneurship, teamwork and, of course, fun! 

There are three sessions of camp offered at the JA Biztown Summer Camp Biztown location – 6100 Grand Avenue, Des Moines. Sessions will be from 9 am- 3 pm on June 12-16, June 26-30 and July 17-21.

With having a limit of 65 children per camp week, the sessions are filling up fast. To view availability and to register, click here. 

The camp fee is $200 and a $15 sibling discount is offered for a second camper.

For more information, contact Deb Schneider at


May 26, 2017 at 11:34 am

Financial Literacy and Education Commission public meeting to be held Wednesday, May 24

The next public meeting of the Financial Literacy and Education Commission (FLEC) is scheduled for Wednesday, May 27, from 9 – 11:30 a.m. Eastern Time. The financial literacy results from the 2015 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) will be discussed.

The meeting will be held at the U.S. Department of the Treasury in Washington, D.C., but individuals can join via live webcast at this link.

If you have questions in regards to the meeting, email

May 16, 2017 at 9:38 am

Financial literacy resources for the classroom

Are you looking for educational materials to wrap up the school year with? If so, the Iowa Financial Literacy Network has compiled a list of financial literacy resources that may help – see the list below!

Personal Finance 101 Short videos on many key financial concepts

High School Financial Planning ProgramFocuses on basic personal finance skills that are relevant to high school teens

My Classroom Economy- Helps stimulate a real economy in the confines of a classroom

Chair the Fed- Policy game by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco that helps students understand the role of monetary policy in the economy

We the Economy- A collection of short films that explain economic concepts

How the Market Works- Simulation that allows students to practice playing the marketing in real time

Major Financial Decisions- Tools and resources that can help with life’s major financial decisions

Fish Economics- Free economics lesson plans, lectures and a 10-part series on building an economy

May 10, 2017 at 10:10 am

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