State Treasurer Beth Pearce Recognizes Winning Elementary and Afterschool Students for Achievement in Financial Literacy Programs

11 April 2019

MONTPELIER, VT — State Treasurer Beth Pearce and Lieutenant Governor David Zuckerman held a financial literacy awards ceremony today to recognize Vermont students who successfully completed the Treasurer’s Office’s Reading is an Investment financial literacy education program, which was expanded in early 2019 to include a pilot for afterschool students called VerMoney. VerMoney and Reading is an Investment are both offered to teach students basic financial concepts and money skills.

“We are thrilled this year’s school-based Reading is an Investment curriculum was completed by a record 5,688 students – the most in the program’s history,” said Treasurer Pearce. “By the time Vermont students graduate high school, most have already faced complex decisions about their finances as they consider how to pay for things like vehicles, housing, and post-secondary education. It is important that we work with our elementary learners to build a strong foundation for future financial decisions. I want to thank the students, educators, and partners who have made financial literacy a priority this year.”

Reading is an Investment teaches K-6 students basic financial concepts through classroom and library instruction that utilizes a personal reading program. The 2018-2019 program was the ninth year of the program. Since its inception, more than 37,800 students have finished the program requirements, gaining valuable financial knowledge. A record 5,688 students completed the reading challenge this year and had their names entered in a random drawing to win one of twenty $250 college savings accounts provided by the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation (VSAC).

In addition to the school-based Reading is an Investment program, the 2019 VerMoney pilot is a new addition to the Reading is an Investment lineup, which has provided financial literacy education free-of-charge to Vermont schools since 2010. The Vermont State Board of Education recently adopted new financial literacy education standards, which prompted the Treasurer’s Office to review how its financial education programming could best serve Vermont students. Afterschool stood out as an important space to teach Vermont students financial concepts. The Treasurer’s Office partnered with Vermont Afterschool, Inc. to develop and deliver VerMoney.

Three of the 25 afterschool sites that participated in the VerMoney pilot were randomly selected to win individual $200 cash prizes, offered by the Vermont Bankers Association. Prizes were awarded as a way for afterschool educators and their students to expand financial literacy learning opportunities. The pilot winners included: Crossroad in Highgate, Tapestry in Rutland, and Kingdom East Afterschool Program at Miller’s Run in Lyndonville.

“The afterschool space provides an excellent opportunity to build understanding and skills through hands-on learning experiences and projects.” said Holly Morehouse, Executive Director of Vermont Afterschool. “This new partnership with the State Treasurer’s Office has allowed us to co-create an afterschool curriculum that offers young learners the opportunity to explore important financial literacy concepts such as budgeting, goal setting, marketing, goods and services, and differentiating between wants and needs. The VerMoney program gives young people knowledge and skills which will serve them well throughout their lives.”

Students who completed Reading is an Investment to win college savings accounts include: Ella Gibert of Browns River Middle School, Harper Reese of Cambridge Elementary School, Brian Hemple of Clarendon Elementary School, Stella Smiar of Edmunds Elementary School, Demari Burton of Elm Hill School, Charlie Cloud of Essex Elementary School, Connor Crouse of Hardwick Elementary School, Max Capurso of Hartland Elementary School, Lucas Gleason of Jamaica Village School, Ronin Quinn of Lakeview Elementary School, Amie Wilhelm of Mary Hogan School, Nevyn Beagan of Morristown Elementary School, Gabriel Tabor of Newport City Elementary School, Layna Rose of Sharon Elementary School, Caragh Fitzgerald of Swanton Elementary School, Harper Grant of Tunbridge Central School, Rebecca Butler of Underhill ID School, and students from Bradford Elementary School, Shelburne Community School, and Sustainability Academy.

Additionally, Clarendon Elementary School won a large Vermont Teddy Bear for its school library for achieving the highest student participation rate in the reading program. The bear was generously provided by Vermont Teddy Bear Company. The TD Bank Charitable Foundation sponsored the VerMoney afterschool pilot, and joined the Comcast Foundation and Windham Foundation to support the 2018-2019 K-6 Reading is an Investment program.

“It’s exciting to see our financial education initiatives reaching more and more Vermont students. We thank all of our partners who help make financial education available and accessible across the state,” concluded Treasurer Pearce.