Florida Council on Economic Education Receives $25,000 Grant from State Farm

Posted on February 11, 2014 at 3:49 pm

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Suzanne Costanza

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Florida Council on Economic Education Receives $25,000 Grant from State Farm

 (TAMPA) – January 30, 2014 – The Florida Council on Economic Education (FCEE) received a $25,000 grant from State Farm in support of its mission to prepare Florida’s students for personal and financial success. The grant will be used specifically to sponsor professional development workshops for teachers around the state and the popular student competition, the Florida Stock Market Challenge.

Established more than 20 years ago, the Florida Stock Market Challenge gives K-12 students the opportunity to participate in an online investment simulation and manage a hypothetical $100,000 investment portfolio.  Students throughout the state compete for the best portfolio performance and are awarded prizes at the end of both the fall and spring semesters. This program is easily integrated into a variety of subject areas, including social studies, mathematics, and language art classes and is offered free of charge to all Florida teachers. Each May, the FCEE recognizes an outstanding Stock Market Challenge Advisor in its annual Governor’s Awards for Excellence in Teaching Economics (GAP). Without this generous grant from State Farm, the FCEE would no longer be able to do so.

“I am thrilled that State Farm has renewed its longstanding commitment to the Florida Stock Market Challenge and the Florida Council,”   said Mike Bell, Executive Director of FCEE.  “State Farm’s sponsorship means that literally thousands of Florida students will gain an understanding of our country’s financial markets and our economic system through participation in this exciting, real-time simulation.”

“Over the last four years I have introduced the stock market to nearly 600 students,” said 2013 Stock Market Challenge Advisor of the Year and Polk County Educator, Stephanie Jen. “These students come from a high poverty area where many people live paycheck to paycheck. The Stock Market Challenge has opened their eyes to new opportunities. This experience will stay with them for years to come.”

Read more about Stephanie and her winning teams below!

About State Farm®:

State Farm and its affiliates are the largest provider of car insurance in the U.S. and is a leading insurer in Canada. In addition to providing auto insurance quotes, their 18,000 agents and more than 65,000 employees serve 81 million policies and accounts – more than 79 million auto, home, life and health policies in the United States and Canada, and nearly 2 million bank accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for renters, business owners, boats and motorcycles, is also available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 44 on the Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit http://www.statefarm.com or in Canada http://www.statefarm.ca.

About the Florida Council on Economic Education

The mission of the Florida Council on Economic Education is to prepare Florida’s young people for personal and financial success through educational programs in economics, the free enterprise system and personal financial literacy so that they become productive members of the workforce, responsible consumers and wise investors. The Florida Council on Economic Education is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that is funded by leading corporations and individuals throughout the state.

The FCEE supports five Centers for Economic Education that train k-12 teachers in economics, entrepreneurship, personal finance and the free enterprise system. Professional development for teachers achieves an extraordinary multiplier effect, with every elementary teacher reaching 25-30 students each year and middle and high school teachers reaching 100-200 students each semester. Once trained, a teacher is able to integrate economics and personal finance lessons into his or her classroom for years, thus helping to make thousands of students economically and financially literate.

The Florida Council is an affiliate of the Council for Economic Education, the leading organization in the United States that focuses on the economic and financial education of students from kindergarten through high school.

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Stephanie’s Story

Stephanie Jen taught at a school that’s had more than the usual challenges.  At Lake Alfred Addair Middle School in Polk County almost all of the school’s students come from economically disadvantaged homes and nearly one third of the school’s students receive specialized services for learning disabilities.  These and other challenges contributed to the school being rated an “F” in 2012.  Soon after, the Department of Education took over the school and completely revamped the staff, replacing many with 1st year teachers.

Despite all of this turmoil, Stephanie continued to motivate her 7th grade Civics students by having them participate in the Florida Stock Market Challenge.  In her first year participating in SMC, 60 of her students participated.  Having seen how the Challenge motivates and excites these students who rarely achieve success in school, she then expanded the program to well over 200 hundred participants in 2013.

Stephanie’s students consistently outperformed their competition to win the Stock Market Challenge for their region. In fact, in the spring of 2013 her students again swept the top spots for their region with the 1st place team achieving a whopping 15.77% return in 11 weeks! As a result of their accomplishments, the underprivileged students in Stephanie’s class were recognized by the Mayor and City Council for their extraordinary investing accomplishment. Students in other classes come to this teacher to how they can participate in the Challenge.

Our 2013 Advisor of the Year is still actively recruiting other teachers to participate in the Challenge with their students.  She said her goal is to have a school-wide competition among all of the classes and teachers. Stephanie is a wonderful example of the incredible dividends that come from participation in the Florida Stock Market Challenge.