Teachers Workshop Shares Financial Literacy –

Jobs aren’t only on the minds of voters this summer. It’s on the minds of their teens as well, according to Claysville, Penn., business teacher Denise Yoho.

“I teach high school seniors, some of whom are going in the work force (after graduation),” said Yoho. “A lot of them are very confused. They hear ‘jobs’ in the news all the time, and they hear their parents’ concerns.”

Yoho was one of approximately 200 teachers and professors who participated in the 25th annual New York Stock Exchange Teachers Workshop, geared toward helping educators become better equipped to teach students about the financial marketplace and its role in the global economy.

“I was happy to fly to New York City for a week to learn about something I needed, filling the void in my education,” said Yoho. “I think (finance) education is lacking in the school platform. There’s a great need for personal finance literacy.

“So much of what we teach is geared toward test scores, but personal finance, how to take care of our own money, is important,” Yoho added.

Last year, the NYSE introduced fellowship grants to aid under-resourced teachers to join the program. In addition to the record 48 fellowships awarded to this year’s participants, the 2012 NYSE Teachers Workshop program is now offering post-baccalaureate credits to its participants through St. Francis College, a private college in Brooklyn Heights.

The Teachers Workshop is designed to give educators a thorough understanding of the capital-raising process, market structure and technology, regulation, and financial products. Participants will select from three business courses offered through the Management and IT Department at St. Francis College: “Financial Markets and the Global Economy;” “SEC and Financial Markets;” and “Advanced Workshop in Financial Markets.” The program is directed toward educators who will teach students — from the elementary level to adult learning — about the financial market and its role in the global economy. Lectures and discussions with speakers from NYSE Euronext (including Chief Executive Officer Duncan Niederauer), the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and other organizations enable teachers to translate the information to classroom curricula.

“Bringing the financial markets to the classroom through the Teachers Workshop is a vital step toward the NYSE’s commitment to increasing financial literacy,” said Michelle Greene, Vice President of Corporate Responsibility at NYSE Euronext, via release. “The program is based on the most up-to-date information and insight to assure the advancement of financial capability for the teachers and for their students. The new offering of post-baccalaureate credits is an innovative and exciting opportunity for new and returning participants.”

During this year’s workshops, participants heard from speakers such as June Jaffe and Suzanne Matthews, from the Muriel Seibert Foundation, who presented on personal finance; Menno Middledorp from The Federal Reserve, who gave a broad overview of the financial crises and what they do at the Fed; and Vincent Young from Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), who showed teachers how to play the Stock Market Game and how to get teachers involved and why is it beneficial to students to have this program.

This year the workshop also had representatives from the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), the Council for Economic Education (CEE) and The Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation (DTCC).

According to Camille Fredrickson, Managing Director of NYSE Operations, who has overseen the program for the last four years, every state in the U.S. and Puerto Rico has been represented at the workshops. There’s also a growing international interested from educators. The learning has also gotten more interactive, with a Facebook group for participants and a Twitter account, to help teachers help students after they have left the five-day seminar.

“We don’t want teachers to feel like they are in the dark,” said Fredrickson. “We want them bringing excitement (for financial literacy) back to the classroom,” said Fredrickson. “The NYSE is a global exchange, (and international participants) sharing ideas is critical. They’re learning from one another, sharing lesson plans and materials.”

For teachers or professors looking to take the next step into denser financial literacy topics, the NYSE offers two “graduate” seminars. The NYSE Graduate program is a three-day visit to the NYSE and provides the teachers with lectures and discussions from employees at NYSE and guests speakers, as well as a field trip to JP Morgan’s Trading Desk in Midtown. The NYSE Graduate program’s main focus is to increase the teachers understanding of complex market activities.

The NYSE also has partnered with the SEC to offer a graduate program, focused on examining the federal government’s interaction with the financial markets. It is a four-day program that includes lectures and discussions similar to the Teachers Workshop and NYSE Graduate program, including field trips.

–Alanna Stage, @AlannaTweets