JA Finance Park
Building Financial Skills for Life
JA launched JA Finance Park, presented by Great-West Great-Teachers, a program of Great-West Financial in September 2011. The JA Finance Park experience begins in the classroom with an in-depth curriculum that culminates in a day at the park. The curriculum directly fulfills new state-mandated economic, math and reading, writing and communications content standard which also include 21st century skills and concepts for middle and high school students.
During their visit to JA Finance Park, students become an adult for the day and immerse themselves in a reality-based decision-making process addressing aspects of individual family budgeting including housing, transportation, food, utilities, healthcare, investments, philanthropy and banking.
JA also offers an online version of the program. Much like the hands-on version, JA Finance Park Virtual users adopt a fictional persona, create an avatar and make fiscal decisions based on a pre-determined life circumstance all in a virtual environment.
Teachers: Register Now!
JA Finance Park is located in the American Furniture Warehouse in Thornton. There are two ways for educators to reserve a date at JA Finance Park.
- Fill out the online request form, specifying if you prefer the field trip or virtual classroom option; or
- Print the online form, complete it, and send it via fax to 303-534-2771 or scan it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
JA provides teacher orientation/guidebooks, student workbooks, and support to help teachers present the engaging classroom curriculum prior to the Park experience. Middle school curriculum includes 19 45-minute lessons. High school curriculum is seven 45-minute lessons.
Watch the JA Finance Park video to gain an inside perspective of the park.
“At Finance Park we were all given scenarios of our job and our annual earnings. We were then responsible for accounting all of our expenses from cars to housing to medical expenses and clothing. We had to go around to all of the different vendors as well as account for stocks. I believe Finance Park helped me gain a better perspective on how to budget money in the future and to make financially efficient choices.” –JA Student
The Results Speak for Themselves
During the 2011/12 school year, JA had planned to reach 7,500 students through JA Finance Park. JA actually served 9,357 students from 53 middle schools and 43 high schools, beating its goal by 25%. The park site hosted 7,972 students and 1,385 students participated through the virtual program. An estimated 43% of students were low-income, qualifying for free/reduced lunch, and an estimated 53% were minority.
Beginning with 2012/13 school year, and on an annual basis thereafter, the live simulation will benefit 12,000 students. The number of students who can participate through the virtual program is unlimited.
JA Finance Park is offered at no cost to students or schools thanks to the support of volunteers and donors. This school year, more than 900 volunteers from 76 companies actively supported teaching young people personal financial literacy through JA Finance Park.
Students report that their visit to JA Finance Park encourages them to change their spending habits and to not live beyond their means. Nearly two thirds of high school students found their experience made them more confident in planning for their financial future.
Participating middle school students scored an average of 38% on the pre-test and 55% on the post-test, showing a rate of gain of 45%. The majority (83%) of the more than 500 middle school students surveyed said that their visit to JA Finance Park taught them how to manage their money.
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