Money Smart Kid Essay application now available

Each year, during Money Smart Week, the Iowa Bankers Association sponsors the Money Smart Week essay contest in partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Through the contest, students are asked to answer a financial question and relate it back to their life. This year’s question is:

“Do you think there is a connection between financial health and physical health? Please explain your answer. What can you do to become more financially healthy?”

One student will be named this year’s Money Smart Kid and will receive a $1,000 College Savings account. Participants must reside in the Money Smart Week Iowa or Quad Cities region and must be in grade 7-11. The deadline to submit an essay is Friday, March 24, 2017, and the winner will be notified by April 19.

Download the MSW Essay application at To stay up-to-date on contest information, “like” MSW Iowa on Facebook.

January 16, 2017 at 12:12 pm

Jump$tart launches new Clearinghouse

Jump$tart has recently updated the Jump$tart Clearinghouse, a premier online library of financial education resources. The new Clearinghouse not only has a new interface but also has improved functionality, more search capabilities, and added ways to rate and comment on resources.

Jump$tart is encouraging partners to review the resources their organization may have previously listed. To search and review resources click here. If changes need to be made, contact the Clearinghouse Director “Ask Anne.”

If you are not a Jump$tart partner, you can still search and utilize the resources Clearinghouse has to offer. However, if you’d like favorite, update or submit resources, you must create a profile. Click the “Create a Profile” link in the top right corner of the page.

For additional information or questions, contact “Ask Anne.”

January 11, 2017 at 3:46 pm

Feedback wanted on social studies standards draft

Iowa Department of Education Director Ryan Wise is currently looking for feedback on the draft of proposed statewide social studies standards that will affect Iowa students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

This proposed draft is a statewide effort to update Iowa’s current social studies standards that were adopted in 2008.

The Social Studies Standards Review Team plans to take public feedback into account when reviewing the proposed standards. The final draft is expected to be presented to the State Board of Education this spring.

There are multiple ways you can give your feedback. An online survey is available here. Three public forums have also been scheduled for the public to attend. Individuals can attend in person or remotely from satellite sites. The public forum details are listed below.

Monday, Jan. 9, 4:30 to 6 p.m.
Heartland Area Education Agency
6500 Corporate Drive, Johnston
Room 152B

Satellite sites
Northwest Area Education Agency
1520 Morningside Ave., Sioux City
Room 206

Keystone Area Education Agency
2310 Chaney Road, Dubuque
Room 1A

Thursday, Jan. 12, 4:30 to 6 p.m.
Grant Wood Area Education Agency
4401 Sixth St. SW, Cedar Rapids
Autumn, Sone, and Revere Rooms

Satellite sites
Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency
500 NE Sixth St., Pocahontas
North & South Twin Lakes Room

Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency
729 21st St., Bettendorf
Muscatine and Scott Rooms

Wednessday, Jan. 25, 4:30 to 6 p.m.
Green Hills Area Education Agency
24997 U.S. Highway 92, Council Bluffs
Halverson Conference Room

Satellite sites
Great Prairie Area Education Agency
3601 West Ave., Burlington
Room B

Area Education Agency 267
909 S. 12th St., Marshalltown
Room B



January 6, 2017 at 3:29 pm

You’re invited

Join other students and teachers at the Economics Education Conference at Northwestern College on Friday, January 27.

Dr. Don Fell, professor & institute director with Foundation for Teach Economics (, and Erica Vonk, mentor teacher from the NWC Business Department, will be sharing their ideas on economic concepts and how to incorporate economics into the classroom.

Event Details:

When: Friday, January 27, 2017

Time: 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Where: Northwestern College Learning Commons, Vogel Room

Cost: $25 holds your spot- BUT attend all day & get your money back!

Included: Free lunch and snacks

Seats are limited! To register, email Erica Vonk at Your name and $25 must be submitted before the day of the event to hold your spot.

January 3, 2017 at 2:56 pm

Iowa earns B-plus on national report card

Iowa recently earned a B-plus grade on the 2016 National Report Card on Adult Financial Literacy released by Champlain College in Vermont. Iowa was among the top 10 states in the nation, with no state receiving higher than an A-minus.

Each state’s grade was based on 59 data points from 18 national organizations. These data points were in the categories of financial knowledge, credit, saving and spending, retirement readiness and other investing, and protection and insurance.

Although Iowa was of the top 10 states for financial literacy, the state has room for improvement. Iowa performed well in the categories of credit (A) and saving and spending (A), but can improve tremendously in the areas of protection and insurance (B), financial knowledge (B-minus), and retirement readiness (C).

To learn more about Champlain College’s National Report Card on Adult Financial Literacy and to read the full report, click here.

December 13, 2016 at 6:10 pm

Pennies to Paychecks – Students learn about finances the fun way

This fall middle school students across Iowa had the opportunity to learn about personal finance while participating in sketch and improvisational comedy.

Pennies to Paychecks, a financial literacy production by The National Theatre for Children (NTC), was sponsored by the Iowa Insurance Division and visited 100 schools in Iowa. The tour stopped in Des Moines, Sioux Center, Spencer, Cedar Rapids, Clarksville, Fayette, Dubuque, Keokuk, Manchester, Waterloo and more locations between Oct. 17 and Nov. 18.

Each Pennies to Paychecks production consisted of professional actors performing comedic sketches while also demonstrating the importance of personal finance. Topics covered included take-home pay, the difference between saving and investing, the difference between credit and debit cards, and the importance of forming a savings habit.

Not only did students learn about personal finance through a live production, schools were provided with student workbooks, teachers’ guides and digital learning materials to help reinforce the lessons learned.

Check out NTC’s video on Pennies to Paychecks below to learn more about the educational production.

December 9, 2016 at 2:06 pm

Financial literacy is important, but how do you get kids engaged?

We can all agree that financial literacy is important, but it’s hard to teach kids about the importance of saving, budgeting and investing before they make money of their own. So how on earth do we grab the attention of uninterested kids? Make money talk fun!

Sometimes classroom lesson plans are hard to stand, but if activities are involved, the kids will be, too. For fun classroom ideas that will spark the interest of kids, visit The Money Godmother’s Blog. From crossword puzzles to duct tape wallets, many free downloads are available.

Another great resource the Federal Reserve of Chicago offers is the downloadable workbook, Econ Explorers. This workbook takes students on many different adventures while exploring different aspects of financial literacy.

Check out some of these resources to engage your students and make money talk fun.

November 29, 2016 at 11:02 am

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