NEW YORK, NY September 3, 2014 – This month, the Council for Economic Education (CEE) is delighted to announce the winners of the 2nd annual Alfred P. Sloan Teaching Champion Awards, honoring three outstanding economics educators in the New York metropolitan area. Demonstrating innovative teaching methods, lesson plans and learning strategies, these teachers are raising the bar for economic education in the New York metropolitan area, and will receive the Sloan Award at CEE’s annual Visionary Awards gala on October 30.
Kathleen O’Hagan, a 4th-grade teacher at P.S. 97/The Highlawn School in Brooklyn, developed a passion for teaching economics after attending CEE’s professional development workshops. She implemented a classroom mini-economy in her fourth and fifth grade classrooms where kids pay rent, apply for jobs, receive bonuses, purchase insurance, manufacture items for the classroom store, and learn how to live within a budget. She is constantly seeking ways to infuse economics and personal finance lessons into the elementary school curriculum: organizing debates on economic issues, using a play to teach students about the Industrial Revolution, and teaching kids about production by using a 3-D printer.
Darren Gurney teaches his high schoolers at New Rochelle High School in New Rochelle, NY about incentives, inflation, business formation, consequences of debt, and other microeconomic concepts using a monetary system he created called the “Gurney Greenback Exchange.” His students can earn Greenbacks in a variety of ways—by helping others, contributing to class discussion, even starting an in-class business—and can use them to purchase anything from seating privileges to meals from participating local restaurants. Darren is also the founder and advisor of the New Rochelle High School Economics Team, an after-school team that began competing in CEE’s National Economics Challenge in 2008. Students on this team also compete in the Stock Market Challenge and the CKSF Financial Literacy Challenge.
Amanda Tombari, also a 12th grade teacher at Clarkstown South High School in West Nyack, NY, cites “keeping it real” as her primary strategy for engaging students, relating economic content to their own lives. She has taken a particular interest in working with special needs students and has encouraged them to take her general Economics course. Working alongside a Special Education teacher, she modifies the assignments and incorporates different strategies to help them learn basic economic concepts such as cost-benefit analysis. Her students also learn about important economic concepts by developing a product to be sold for charity, tasking them with the responsibility of finding a producer, marketing the item and determining a price strategy.
Selected by an expert panel of judges this year’s winners stood out for their creativity and ability to effectively engage students. The honorees will each receive a $5,000 prize, and their school will receive a cash award of $2,500 to support economic and financial education. What’s more, they will also be offered the opportunity to share best practices with their colleagues by co-facilitating a training workshop for area teachers and sharing their best lessons with teachers nationwide through CEE’s online assets.
“We applaud these outstanding teachers for their innovation and dedication to making economic concepts come alive for their students,” said Nan J. Morrison, CEE President and CEO. “We hope that by bringing awareness to their achievements, these educators will serve as inspiration for their fellow teachers to bring economics and financial literacy to every classroom.”
About the Council for Economic Education
The Council for Economic Education (CEE) is the leading organization in the United States that focuses on the economic and financial education of students from kindergarten through high school—and we have been doing so for 65 years. CEE delivers the fourth “R”—a real-world understanding of how to build fruitful lives—to America’s young people. Our goal is to reach and teach every child to create a more informed citizenry capable of making better decisions as savers, investors, borrowers, voters and participants in the global economy. We do this by educating the educators: providing the curriculum tools, the pedagogical support, and the community of peers that instruct, inspire, and guide. All resources and programs are developed by educators, and delivered by our national network of affiliates—over 240 across the country. Last year, we trained more than 55,000 teachers; those teachers, in turn, we estimate, reached 5 million students.
About the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is a philanthropic, not-for-profit grantmaking institution based in New York City. Established in 1934 by Alfred Pritchard Sloan Jr., then-President and Chief Executive Officer of General Motors, the Foundation makes grants in support of original research and education in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and economic performance. The Alfred P. Sloan Teaching Champion Awards are funded through the Foundation’s Civic Initiatives program, which aims to benefit the New York City metropolitan area in ways that advance the Foundation’s mission. www.sloan.org.