Year 2 – Financial Literacy

This year’s goals are three: 1) full infusion of economic literacy concepts into the school curriculum in all content areas; 2) establishment of a student economy called Economis that allows students to experience economics in real world, personal finance applications while teaching and reinforcing basic financial literacy concepts and 3) instruction in Financial Literacy Mini-Lessons to improve students’ financial life skills. (In addition, some schools may choose to employ Economis for the purpose of improving school discipline and classroom management through the student economy’s use of incentives.

Economis Description

Economis is dedicated to helping young people learn the everyday money management skills required to succeed in today’s world. It is designed to provide real world experience in using a debit card, earning, spending, using online banking, and learning about taxes and payroll. This experience, however, occurs in a virtual world so that mistakes and problems can become instructive without the consequences of the real world.

Economis is an online, virtual economy invented by Central Ohio Youth for Christ in its work with at-risk youth in Columbus, Ohio. The software, however, can be customized for any ministry’s use. Through a multi-year demonstration project, Economis has been implemented in six cities and has over 1,100 inner-city student users. Economis contains several modules that can be turned on or off by program administrators, thus allowing it to be effective for all different age groups.

Students are registered into the program and have their own debit cards and online bank accounts. They earn virtual money according to procedures determined by implementing school (e.g., a certain amount of credits for different achievements or behaviors) and then manage that “money” (they can spend it in the school store, save it in an interest-bearing savings account or CD, invest it in the Economis virtual stock portfolio, or give it away). School officials can use Economis to “incentivize” whatever behaviors or achievements are desired, and then the system tracks students’ progress in accomplishing those.