State Treasurer Lynn Fitch visited Clinton High School this morning to kick off her TEAM financial literacy initiative, the Treasurer’s Education About Money.
Treasurer Fitch spoke to students about the importance of learning personal finance skills as key to changing Mississippi’s financial culture.
“You are our workforce and leaders of tomorrow,” Fitch said. “If you learn how to manage your own money, you will be better able to manage the finances of the businesses you lead.”
“Treasurer Fitch is committed to helping Mississippi rise above our current economic situation by teaching students to understand financial concepts and manage their money,” Walker said. “Instead of living paycheck to paycheck because of poor choices, hopefully, our students will be part of a generation of Mississippians who plan, invest and enjoy the rewards of successful money management.”
A side effect, Walker said, is that Mississippi as a whole will be in better financial condition when its residents manage money well.
“We appreciate Treasurer Fitch for being forward thinking and encouraging this instruction,” Walker said.
Fitch is traveling Mississippi this week to share the details of her TEAM initiative to make personal finance education resources available to every high school student across the state.
TEAM is built on a public-private partnership that includes local communities, businesses, nonprofits, and educators all aimed at improving Mississippi’s financial literacy.
“Mississippi has been named as among the least financially capable states in the country,” she said. “This is unacceptable. I want to change our financial culture, and TEAM is a significant step in that effort.”
With funds raised from the private sector, Treasurer Fitch’s TEAM initiative will make available a computer-based program for students to learn the basics of managing their money.
Designed by EverFi, a company with a proven track record of implementing the financial literacy program in schools across the country, the TEAM program is available online so that students can easily complete the nine different modules in classrooms, computer labs or in their homes. Schools have flexibility to use the EverFi program in many different subject areas, and students are tested throughout the program to measure their progress.
The modules include lessons on credit scores, insurance, credit cards, taxes, investing, 401Ks, savings, mortgages and college savings.
TEAM will also enlist the Mississippi Council for Economics Education, a Mississippi nonprofit that already successfully provides training for teachers in the areas of economics, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy and is led by former CHS teacher Selena Swartzfager. MCEE will expand its current teacher training in personal finance it already provides to include the EverFi program.
“The EverFi program has already been piloted in 100 schools around the state,” said Treasurer Fitch. “Students who completed the lessons showed a 40 percent increase in financial literacy. With MCEE’s effectiveness in training teachers, we can really raise awareness that personal finance education is a life skill we all need.”For information on TEAM, contact TEAM@treasury.ms.gov or call 888-308-1997.
In its second year as a one-to-one district, the Clinton Public School District is “growing technology” in several ways.
To better train and engage faculty, the district on Thursday partnered with Hinds Community College and Instructure to hold CanvasCon, a day-long professional development day that covered the basics of Canvas. This learning management system allows teachers to post lesson plans and assignments online for students, and students can log in, complete the work and turn it in to teachers’ inboxes.
“Canvas is used by thousands of students and teachers throughout the country,” said Dr. Kameron Ball, CPSD’s director of technology. “The Mississippi junior and community college system and several four-year institutions of higher learning have adopted Canvas as their delivery method for online, digital e-learning courses.”
In Clinton, she said, Canvas was selected as a supplement to the 1:1 Digital Learning Initiative, in which every student is provided a Mac computer or tablet.
“Every student in grades 5-12 has a MacBook Air laptop and all of our faculty also have laptops to use for instruction and assessment,” she said.
At CanvasCon, teachers learned how to use Canvas to create and manage grade books, create and add students to classes, how to communicate with students, create calendars with dates that assignments are due, and how to add multimedia elements such as videos and podcasts.
Eighth-grade science teacher Linda White said the conference helped her see how Canvas could be used for day-to-day instruction.
“This is doable,” she said. “Even for veteran educators like me, I can see how I can use this in my class.”
Among her plans are to create virtual science labs and embed multimedia elements that she would otherwise hand-draw.
“This (CanvasCon) has been thrilling,” she said. “I can put these things in Canvas and I feel comfortable using it. I love the ability to create audio and video that kids can review later when they’re studying.”
Since all her students have laptops, she added, they can download information at school in case they don’t have access to Wi-Fi at home.
“There were some good questions from teachers in the assessment session,” said CJHS Assistant Principal Brian Fortenberry. “With the Respondus browser, teachers can make their tests ‘cheat-proof’ because students can’t search Google for answers, take screen shots or message other students while they’re taking the test. That took away teachers’ fears and made them more receptive to the technology.”
Teachers also like that Canvas will allow them to receive immediate feedback on whether students ‘get’ the lesson or if more review is needed, he said.
Through Canvas, teachers and students are assigned to the courses on their daily school schedule. Each completed assignment is time-stamped when students submit it to their teachers, so teachers can tell if students turn in work on time.
Teachers can upload class presentation notes, study guides, handouts, videos and links to other resources that students may need for completing their work and studying for tests.
helps students stay better organized an informed, and it cuts down on paper,”
Ball said. “All student work in Canvas is archived in folders for their use at
any time. Course assignments and tests are posted to an online calendar so
students can improve their time management skills.”
CPSD secondary schools began piloting Canvas in January 2014. After ongoing training this past spring — and attending CanvasCon — CPSD teachers will move forward and fully implement Canvas this fall.
Enrollment in Clinton's public schools has increased each year for the past several school years, and we expect that trend to continue.
We’re proud to be an A-rated school district and the highest achieving school district by far in the Jackson metro area. We’re planning some innovative changes with technology this fall as we continue to build on our successes.
During the 2013-14 school year, the Clinton Public School District enrolled 4,887 students in grades pre-K through 12. The number increased 175 students from the prior year, when there were 4,712 students enrolled. Just four years ago, CPSD enrolled 4,569 students.
Historically, the highest years of enrollment were in the late 1990s, when more than 5,200 students attended CPSD.
There were several years where our enrollment numbers declined, but that trend has reversed and we have seen significant gains in recent years.
To accommodate the growth, CPSD this fall has hired an additional teacher for each grade level in grades K-6, as well as additional faculty in grades 7-12. There is also an additional teacher in the gifted program whose time will be split between Northside and Lovett elementary schools.
If enrollment continues to rise and funding is available, additional faculty may be needed next school year as well.
Awards and honors
Several factors are contributing to CPSD’s growth. Last year, all students were issued new Mac computers as part of the 1:1 Digital Learning Initiative, a program that will expand during the 2014-15 school year.
Another factor is the numerous awards and honors CPSD has received in recent years, including Lovett Elementary School earning a National Blue Ribbon Award from the U.S. Department of Education for the high caliber of its academic programs.
During the 2013-14 school year, CPSD earned an academic rating of A, the highest possible rating a Mississippi school district can attain. CPSD’s test scores are the second-highest out of 150 school districts in the state.
Other recent recognitions include:
• Sixth-graders in Clinton outscored their peers in every other school district in BOTH language arts and math, according to official test results from the Mississippi Department of Education.
• CHS show choir Attaché was ranked the No. 1 show choir in America.
• The band's indoor percussion group earned a gold medal (first place) at the WGI World Championship competition in April.
• Freshman Demi Washington is Mississippi’s “Miss Track” and is the Gatorade Mississippi Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year. She won two individual sprint state titles and helped the Lady Arrows 4x100 meter relay team set a new state record.
• Lovett Principal Mike Pope is Mississippi’s second congressional district Administrator of the Year.
• Members of the class of 2014 received more than $2.9 million in scholarships.
• CPSD earned a Lighthouse School Leader award from the Mississippi School Boards Association for the strength of its academic programs.
• CPSD earned third place in this year's All-Sports award.
• The Ambassadors, CPSD's junior show choir, earned another national championship.
For several years, the Clinton Public School District has implemented the Common Core State Standards in elementary and middle school grades.
The standards are academic benchmarks of what students are expected to learn at each grade level. Local educators in Clinton choose the curriculum materials that are used for day-to-day instruction, including textbooks, homework assignments, projects, apps and other materials.
“We’re raising the bar on what we expect of students,” said Assistant Superintendent Tim Martin. “Students will no longer be given information to memorize and recite back to teachers for a grade. They will be required to engage with complex informational texts and apply literacy skills across all disciplines.”
In math, students will face challenging problems that connect mathematical understanding and procedural skill. They will be required to know how to explain their answer and the mathematical reasoning behind it.
Martin said it will not be an easy transition, but CPSD encourages parents to become actively engaged in their children’s learning.
“These new demands will raise the bar on what is expected from teachers as well,” he said. “Literacy will no longer fall solely under the purview of English and language arts teachers. We expect teachers of other courses to connect the Common Core standards with their content.”
This means that student assignments must be content rich and literacy saturated.
One common misconception of Common Core is that established literature is being stripped from English courses to make way for non-fiction texts. In fact, Common Core requires certain critical content for all students, including classic myths and stories from around the world, America’s founding documents, foundational American literature, and Shakespeare.
It is also not true that English teachers are required to spend 70 percent of their time teaching informational texts and only 30 percent of their time on fictional or literature text.
The 70 percent that is often misrepresented refers to the amount of total time students will spend on reading throughout the day in math, science, English, social studies and other content courses. English teachers are encouraged to use more short informational texts, such as primary sources that can be found online and in newspapers, to surround their reading of a novel, but not to switch their reading to primarily informational text. With Common Core, students will need to read literary texts in English in order to have the 30 percent of their day be fiction reading.
In math, teachers must not only assess students’ ability to do a math procedure but also recognize their depth of understanding and respond with appropriate instruction.
“In some instances, parents may not know how to help because the styles being taught are different from the way we learned as children,” Martin said. “But the best way to learn something new is to prepare to teach it to someone else. If parents and students will both commit to teaching one another — with guidance and support from teachers — I believe we will be successful in implementing the new standards.”
Martin encouraged parents to communicate with teachers on a regular basis, and do not hesitate to ask their child’s teachers if they need assistance or don’t understand an assignment.
Teacher contact information is available on www.clintonpublicschools.com. To find your child’s teachers:
- Mouse over the “Schools” link
- Click on the school name
- Click “Classrooms” on the school home page
- Teachers are listed in alphabetical order by last name
- Click a teacher’s name. His/her email address is posted on either the “Home” or “Welcome” page.
If you cannot find a teacher’s contact information, please email Webmaster Sandi Beason at firstname.lastname@example.org or call your child’s school.