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Sept. 7, 2017

Back to School: Ready. Set. Learn!

Students apply critical thinking skills to determine the correct order of innovations during Family Fun day.

By Laura Fortunato

A student’s journey back to school is rarely as simple as a three-step countdown.

Getting ready for the new school year and beyond takes the collective energies of teachers, families and community members in the months leading up to the first day and gains momentum in the months that follow. Each step of the way, the Richmond Fed contributes resources, expertise and support to enrich the educational well-being of our community and broaden understanding of economic concepts.

Our employees, for instance, held a “Fill the Bus” supply drive for students in several public elementary and middle schools in our District. Employees donated backpacks and more to help students start the year with the supplies they needed. More broadly, our Economic Education team helped prepare students and teachers for a new year of learning by conducting teacher workshops, onsite camps and tours for students, as well as family fun activities in The Fed Experience in Richmond, Virginia.

“While many people think of summer as a time to vacation and relax, we’re engaging with students from local daycares and camp programs to introduce or reinforce a variety of concepts, from goods and services to productive resources, including students’ own human capital,” says Alex Cornwell, economic education specialist.

Our teacher advisory group gathered in late August to kick off a yearlong collaborative effort for sharing information and contributing to the development of innovative resources. The Teacher Collaborative Committee comprises high school economics and personal finance teachers from the Richmond and Baltimore metro areas.

“These teachers serve as our eyes and ears in the classroom,” said Sarah Gunn, economic education specialist. “They keep us informed about the evolving needs of high school teachers, who we work with the most.”

This year, in addition to providing that important input, committee members will help create classroom activities related to Richmond Fed educational resources and publications. The activities will help expand the available resources for teachers and students.

Students use the Invest in What's Next tool to explore careers aligned with their interests.

Throughout the year, our Economic Education team provides a variety of resources for the classroom as well as programs onsite. One of our most popular classroom resources is the online mini-course Invest in What’s Next, which helps students determine their unique path for life after high school. In addition to helping students consider their interests, the career opportunities that align with those interests and the education needed to obtain their chosen career, the course contains budgeting exercises to help students create an actionable plan for their future. This tool is featured in two September programs for middle and high school teachers and counselors held in partnership with the Virginia Council on Economic Education.

Meanwhile, when it comes to onsite experiences, The Fed Experience offers two distinct field trip options. Fed FUNdamentals helps students explore the role of the Federal Reserve in the economy and their connection to the central bank. Students learn about the history and structure of the Federal Reserve and participate in hands-on activities that illustrate key economic concepts such as price stability. A second field trip option, the College and Career Investigation tour, is new this year. In this tour, students participate in activities to explore careers, post-secondary education options and the soft skills needed in the workplace.

Interested in learning more? Check us out at

Contact Us

Jim Strader
(804) 697-8956
(804) 332-0207 (mobile)

Laura Fortunato
(804) 697-8196
(804) 698-0927 (mobile)