Four Columbia County teachers are among 113 educators nationwide who will receive grants to fund projects that teach money-management skills to their pupils.
The winners are Lewiston Elementary School third-grade teachers Alicia Miller, Jody Scott and Julie Sibilsky, and a former Lewiston third-grade teacher, Allison Palfy, who now is a Title I teacher at Cedar Ridge Elementary.
"It's very unusual that so many people from one school get the money," Palfy said.
The grants, from $200 to $1,000, were awarded by ING Direct through the company's Planet Orange Financial Literacy Awards program.
"I think we all are doing the same concept where (pupils) have to earn the money, and they get to spend it," Scott said.
She will teach her pupils basics such as earning, saving, spending and investing during a six-week economics unit with her $700 grant.
"It's going to be built on the major topics that we have to cover in third grade," she said.
Miller will use her $950 grant to teach how spending and saving can work for them in mock real-life situations.
"My students will have a job assignment. They will be paid weekly," she said.
Sibilsky will teach personal budget responsibilities with her $750 grant. They will develop their addition and subtraction skills with daily deposits and withdrawals from a bank register. They also will earn money by exhibiting good behavior and by finishing their classwork on time.
The teachers plan to have speakers from an area bank and credit union.
"It gets the community involved because you're letting (pupils) see how we all work together," Sibilsky said.
Palfy will receive an $800 grant to implement a program that integrates economic principles into a reading and math unit. Her project will culminate with a school store that the pupils will run for one week around Christmas or Valentine's Day. All of the proceeds from the store sales will be donated to a charity that is selected by the children.
Palfy, who works with fourth- and fifth-graders, will use books about economics with her reading pupils, and her math pupils will learn to balance a budget. She said she hopes the hands-on approach to money management will motivate them.
Sibilsky said her third-graders have a strongly developed concept of the cost of goods. For instance, she said, her pupils know that a video game costs $50.
"What they don't have a concept of is how their parents get that money. That money has to come from somewhere."
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