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A Banker in Every Classroom

Governor Haley Barbour proclaimed November 7-11 as “A Banker in Every Classroom Week” in Mississippi.  During this week, over 300 bankers joined local teachers throughout the state to present lessons in personal finance in grades K through 12.  The Mississippi Bankers Association and the Mississippi Council on Economic Education are co-sponsoring this project, presented in public and private schools.

Mac Deaver, president of the Mississippi Bankers Association, says that there is a critical need for enhanced financial education among the state’s young people.  “Bankers and teachers both recognize this need, and this project focuses on getting them together to work to benefit students,” he said.  “This week is just the beginning; we want to build relationships that will lead to more joint activities.”

With hundreds of classroom sessions scheduled during the week, and more to be set during the rest of the school year, “A Banker in Every Classroom” was one of the biggest financial education projects in Mississippi schools in a long time.

Selena Swartzfager, president of the Mississippi Council on Education, says K-12 teachers and students will benefit from the partnerships built by this week long program.  “The Mississippi Council on Economic Education works tirelessly year round to train K-12 teachers in the areas of economics, entrepreneurship and personal finance,” she said.  “We are happy to work with the Mississippi Bankers Association to connect teachers with bankers.  The Mississippi Council has trained 8,000 teachers since its inception, and these teachers can use the support of bankers in teaching financial literacy skills in the classroom.”

Deaver cites MCEE’s long record of training teachers in economic and financial subjects, and the MBA’s financial education program, delivered through member banks in every county, as providing a springboard for the new project.  “Bringing local teachers and bankers together is very exciting,” Deaver said.  “We look for this project to continue and grow.”

Teachers and bankers registered separately for the program, indicating preferences for schools and grade levels in their local areas.  Then, teachers and bankers were “matched” to form teams to make classroom presentations.  Each team was provided with age-appropriate personal finance materials.  “Some sessions focused on savings, credit, budgeting, and other specific topics,” Deaver said.  “And some were question-and-answer sessions on personal finance issues, or even a discussion of careers in banking.”  The teachers and bankers determined the content of all presentations, he added.