Woodlin Elementary School has set aside Friday, June 9, 2017 to implement “JA in a Day,” an opportunity to engage parents/guardians and teachers in a day-long activity to teach elementary students about financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship. This marks the third year hosting the event at Woodlin, thanks to Junior Achievement (JA) of Greater Washington and support from the school PTA.
Over the course of the day, parent/guardian volunteers, with support from classroom teachers, provide age-appropriate instruction to all students – from Kindergarten through the fifth grade – on topics such as needs and wants, money choices, and jobs and careers. Volunteers will lead games, small projects, and discussions to help students begin to think about money, education, careers, and their community.
The partnership was initiated three years ago when a Woodlin parent introduced “JA in a Day” to the school principal, Mrs. Shoua Moua. “I partnered with JA at schools in Minnesota where I worked in the past, so I was very familiar with JA’s programs and their benefits,” says Ms. Moua adding, “One difference here is that Woodlin parents are so highly engaged.” Jeff Allum, co-coordinator of this year’s event, agreed. “As a parent, I always enjoy spending time with my son in the classroom. But this is a particularly important topic, and I am especially glad that so many other parents found the time to help.”
The event was scheduled at the end of the school year, a time when the curriculum has been almost completely delivered, when annual testing is done, and when teachers and students are ready for something new. “It’s an opportunity for our teachers to extend the learning from our curriculum to actually implementing it to ‘real life’ situations,” says Ms. Moua, adding, “and it’s a well-deserved break for the students, as they begin to think about ending one school year and beginning another.”
Junior Achievement of Greater Washington served more than 65,000 students, 5,000 volunteers, and 400 organizations in the greater Washington area during the 2015-16 school year. JA served nearly 14,000 students in Montgomery County alone. “Through our programs, students learn to make small, intentional decisions that eventually build healthy practices,” says Leesa Rugg, Maryland Education Manager for Junior Achievement of Greater Washington. Rugg points to findings from a JA alumni study, suggesting that 30% of survey respondents are more likely to have a four-year degree than the general population. JA alumni are also more than twice as likely to start their own businesses. “At the end of the day, success is a team effort,” says Rugg.
Woodlin Elementary School, located in Silver Spring, Maryland and part of the Montgomery County Public School System, enrolls roughly 600 students between grades K-5. Junior Achievement is the world’s largest organization dedicated to educating students in grades K-12 about financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship, reaching more than 8 million students in 100 countries worldwide.