While the coronavirus pandemic has led many businesses and institutions to a standstill, the Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship (CEEE) at the University of Delaware serves one of the sectors that must keep operating: education. Over the last several weeks, the CEEE has been working remotely to support and fortify the K-12 educational community in Delaware and promises to continue to do so.
While this global health crisis has created far-reaching obstacles for students and educators alike, the CEEE at UD’s Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics offers a number of resources that can help mitigate difficulties in academic progress. CEEE Director Carlos Asarta said that the center is firmly committed to working virtually with Delaware educators, equipping them with the dynamic professional development necessary to approach times such as these.
“We are leveraging technology to make sure that we are available to [Delaware teachers],” Asarta said. “This is probably not the optimal way for us to do what we do, but I do think that we are going to generate some efficiencies that will allow us to reach more teachers in the future.”
Asarta explained that the CEEE worked quickly to reimagine its program offerings to assist the academic community in providing as seamless delivery as possible of economic and personal finance education to K-12 learners. Some of the actions taken by the CEEE include:
- Adapting and delivering weekly lessons and activities that provide relevant and manageable content and methods, all designed for effective at-home learning, targeted by grade level and tied to specific benchmarks.
- Partnering with Next Gen Personal Finance (NGPF) in March to move a previously scheduled in-person teacher conference to an online webinar, engaging nearly 50 educators and providing six hours of professional development credit. Teachers who participated in this webinar were trained on how to deliver prominent online instruction to their students.
- Offering numerous other virtual professional development opportunities in April and May for Delaware teachers, guiding educators in the use of online databases and other educational resources that could be incorporated into remote learning. Guest presenters included economic educators from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and Master of Arts in Economics and Entrepreneurship for Educators (MAEEE) alumni. The CEEE has more opportunities planned throughout the summer.
- Sustaining the annual financial literacy program, “Teach Children to Save Day.” Historically and throughout the last week of April, the CEEE and the Delaware Financial Education Alliance invited volunteer bankers into elementary schools to deliver lessons that touched upon the importance of saving. This year a recorded presentation and lesson was made available to teachers, students and parents along with a free downloadable book and related activity booklet. The online video resource received nearly 3,000 views last month.
- Planning with outside presenters and Lerner College faculty members for how best to move the MAEEE program online so that it will be suitable for students to continue studying remotely this summer.
- Re-conceptualizing the hosting of its second state economic education conference, to be held virtually in June, wherein experts in the field will share lessons and strategies for educators. Additionally, the CEEE will honor one Delaware teacher with the Bonnie T. Meszaros Economic Educator of the Year Award, acknowledging the ongoing commitment and academic contributions to the teaching of economics.
- Working closely with the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia partners to complete an in-depth revision of their co-authored Keys to Financial Success high school personal finance curriculum. A month-long session for both new and existing teachers is planned for online delivery this summer. Keys is currently being taught in 32 of Delaware’s high schools, reaching more than 4,700 students this year.
- Continuing to offer teachers professional development opportunities on topics such as Understanding Fiscal Responsibility and Election Economics in order to help them bring important news and issues of today to life in their virtual classrooms.
- Teaming up with fellow curriculum writers to create lessons for the National Council for Economic Education’s Invest in Girls Program. This program works to provide high school girls with insight on specific careers in finance.
- Recognizing winners of the spring Stock Market Game (SMG), which continued through the coronavirus response, as teams of students invested hypothetical funds in portfolios using a live trading simulation. The elementary division-winning team from Thurgood Marshall Elementary School included Hafsa Ahmed, Trinity Hunter-Harris, Patrick Mullaney, Jasmine Salmeron and Sarayu Suriireddy. The middle school division-winning team from Springer Middle School included Alaina Cole and Sophia Platsis. The high school division-winning team from Padua Academy included Regan Riley, Hannah Solge and Caroline Spall.
- Honoring the winners of the Delaware fall 2019 SMG writing competition, InvestWrite, reported in February 2020: Jainil Sheth from Thurgood Marshall Elementary School, Emerie Gloner from Springer Middle School and Eileena Mathews from Alexis I. Dupont High School.
“The team at the CEEE is working very hard to orchestrate all of these events for the benefit of the Delaware community,” Asarta said. “With funding from the government, Delaware businesses, and individual supporters, the CEEE is finding ways to persevere through this time of crisis and will continue to invest time and resources to support the development of our terrific economic, personal finance, and entrepreneurship educators in Delaware.”