CMS Partnership Promotes Financial Literacy for Students

CHARLOTTE, NC — Could the financial mistakes many people make be avoided if more schools taught financial literacy?

North Carolina is one of just 20 states requiring high school students to take an economic education course. But Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools are teaming up with some local business partners to bring financial literacy to younger students.

“We really try to make it fun, engaging, in an environment where students are encouraged to ask questions,” says Jarian Kerekes, TIAA Corporate Social Responsibility Director.

CMS has teamed up with the education software company EVERFI and the financial services organization TIAA to bring real world information into the classroom, helping Charlotte students learn life-long financial skills for the future.

“It’s something they definitely need to learn for the future,” says Bryanna Keogh, a 4th grade teacher at Morehead STEM Academy. “It’s also really cool because it’s people who have jobs in this field. And it’s not just me up there.”

The partnership is bringing financial literacy to more than a thousand students at elementary and middle schools in the Governors Park area; schools like Morehead STEM Academy, Nathaniel Alexander Elementary and James Martin Middle.

The kids learn about topics like budgeting, saving, credit and insurance through a special on-line curriculum and regular visits from more than 100 TIAA volunteers.

“I think it’s a good way for me to be able to give back,” says TIAA volunteer Peter Kohn. “I think it’s important that the younger generation learns about financial. A lot of families are not comfortable talking to their kids about it. And I think that the sooner that you get them involved, the better.”

Teachers like Keogh say the kids are excited to learn from the volunteers, and even use the knowledge in other lessons.

“They bring it up, like during math, all the time,” Keogh says. “Like, oh, I remember when TIAA came and we learned this.”

And the program is more than just a one-time event. The corporate volunteers make regular trips to their schools, forming real connections with the students.

“We really want to have an impact with each one of them, not just once,” says Kerekes. “But that’s the beauty of this program. We have volunteers in the school once and twice a month, building on what they’ve learned from a previous session.”

TIAA also partners with EVERFI to educate students’ parents through online financial education. They are also hoping to expand the partnership with CMS to more schools.