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Educator Spotlight: Jaci Drass Makes Personal Finance Relevant to Young Learners

February 08, 2024 9:37 AM | Dawn Baker (Administrator)

Jaci Drass

Urbana Elementary

Frederick County Public Schools

Jaci Drass, a first grade teacher at Urbana Elementary in Frederick County, is always looking for content that will interest her students as she explores creative approaches to teaching. And for 19 years, it’s led to strong interest from her students in discussions about personal finance and eager participation in MCEE’s Poster Contest.

“I don’t think you can start teaching personal finance early enough,” explained Jaci. “As students get older, they need this information in life. Plus, they really, really like it!”

To begin to make them aware of concepts in personal finance, Jaci engages her students in conversations about financial decisions. For example, when she needs to purchase something for their classroom, she talks with her students to think of options and the price of each item.

“Involving kids in those decisions teaches them the personal finance habits of being a thoughtful shopper and consumer. Sometimes they may want a more pricey product, such as a Disney puzzle. But after talking about the benefits and options for high-quality affordable alternatives, the lessons come easy.”

In Frederick County,  the social studies curriculum includes a unit on economics. “The unit is helpful, but  I’m always looking for ways to add some extra enriching activities. That’s where MCEE comes in,” said Jaci.

To increase student engagement and understanding, Jaci encourages her students to participate in MCEE’s A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words Poster Contest. Her entire class participates, and some of her students are usually selected as winners. Jaci’s students have made posters about scarcity, goods and services, and even productive resources.

Jaci feels that “kids at this age often express themselves better through art than words. The Poster Contest makes that easy.” Every year, Jaci takes her winning students to MCEE’s Annual Awards event. “The kids love heading to Towson for the event! They return to school very proud, touting their medals.”

Jaci also takes advantage of MCEE’s resources for educators, including tips on the MCEE website with ideas for applying important lessons in the classroom. Find those resources and learn more, here.

Towson University
8000 York Rd.
Towson, MD  21252-0001

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