Tennessee Jump$tart

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Five Tennessee Educators Receive Fifth Annual Tennessee Jump$tart Excellence in Teaching Personal Finance Awards

Five Tennessee educators will be honored during the summer months for their efforts in either teaching the required high school personal finance course, or for incorporating personal finance concepts into their daily teaching curriculum. Debbie Curtis, Tracey Thomas, Marlena Dixon, Sarah "Skeeter" Makepeace, and Teresa Bates will each receive the Tennessee Jump$tart Excellence in Teaching Personal Finance Award.

The awards are presented by Tennessee Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy, which is a coalition of organizations committed to improving the personal financial literacy of Tennessee's youth. The award program recognizes outstanding teachers of either the high school personal finance class, or the use of personal finance concepts in their everyday teaching. The recipients are selected based on successful accomplishments in innovation/creativity related to teaching personal finance, teaching approaches, standards accomplishments, collaborations, and program results.

Tennessee Jump$tart is proud to be able to acknowledge educators that excel in teaching personal finance to Tennessee's high school students," said Carla Jarrell, Tennessee Jump$tart President. "We are committed to providing the best training for the educators to utilize in teaching personal finance to their students. When educators use the skills and resources in the classroom to make personal finance education important to their students, it will only add to the economic vitality of the state in the future, when students use the concepts they've learned from these outstanding educators", Jarrell commented.

2013 Tennessee Jump$tart Excellence in Teaching Personal Finance Award Winners are: 

Teresa Bates is a teacher Lebanon High School in Lebanon, Tennessee. Mrs. Bates teaches three personal finance courses that reached 90 students. Bates incorporated a program where her students had to plan a vacation as a budgeting tool. Bates ensures her students have a firm understanding of the Personal Finance benchmark standards.

Debbie Curtis is a teacher at Macon County in Lafayette, Tennessee. Curtis teaches four sections of personal finance, as well as, incorporating personal finance concepts into other courses she teaches, including Calculus. Curtis uses a creative method of playing Monopoly where her students have to maintain a check register, as well as, write checks when having to pay for landing on another student's property during the game.

Marlena Dixon is a teacher at Wilson Central High School in Lebanon, Tennessee. Dixon taught one personal finance class this past year. Dixon utilizes a House Buying project where students are provided a case study where they are only allowed to spend a certain amount of money to purchase a house. They have to determine the amount of down payment necessary, research furniture and utility costs and create a monthly budget.

Sarah "Skeeter" Makepeace is a teacher at McCallie School for Boys in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Makepeace integrates personal finance concepts into the Advanced Placement Macro and Micro-Economics classes that she teaches. She uses a savings lesson on showing her students how they can retire as millionaires. She has the students compare several savings and investment options ranging from traditional savings account, IRA accounts and 401k accounts and has them begin the plans at different age levels to show how much would need to be saved at each level to reach their goals.

Tracey Thomas is a teacher at Trezevant Career and Technology Center in Memphis, Tennessee. Thomas teaches two classes of personal finance, as well as, incorporating personal finance concepts into additional subjects she teaches. Thomas oversees the first fully functional student-operated bank in the state. Students receive hands-on work experience in banking where they are trained to work in three or more positions in the bank.

The awards will be presented at the Tennessee Jump$tart Personal Finance Annual Educator Conference in Gatlinburg in June and the Tennessee Jump$tart Personal Finance Educator Training in Murfreesboro in July. The trainings provide educators with the employment requirement necessary to teach the high school personal finance course. 

Tennessee's personal finance course curriculum is a high school graduation requirement that became effective for recent 2013 graduates. To be eligible to teach the course, teachers must have specific endorsements or participate in a certified training, such as the Jump$tart Conference.