State Senator Steve Cwodzinski Attends Board Meeting


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Minnesota Jump$tart was fortunate to have Minnesota state senator Steve Cwodzinski attend the most recent Board meeting.  Steve spent time with our organization to give his views on current legislative priorities and answer questions about personal finance in the classroom.  Key observations and points made by Senator Cwodzinski included the following:

–          There can be challenges ensuring any new requirements fit into existing curriculums (e.g. if something is mandated, something else is likely to have to be removed);

–          Stated that individuals and organizations that would like to see personal finance taught in the classroom should contact their respective representatives in the legislature;

–          Recommended that Minnesota Jump$tart and other partner organizations continue to provide support to local classrooms and schools;

–          Highlighted that rallies at the Capitol are a great way to advocate for specific issues and connect with representatives in the legislature.

Minnesota Jump$tart would once again like to thank Senator Cwodzinski for taking the time to meet with us and answer our questions.  We wish him the best of luck as he continues to be strong advocate on behalf of Minnesota students in the legislature.

Minnesota Jump$tart and the Minnesota Credit Union Network Hold Financial Capability Event

90 individuals from business, finance, academia, education, and government committed to providing financial education took part in a Life Simulation designed to help sensitize participants to the financial needs of low-wage working families.

 Held at the University of Minnesota Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC), the event was a partnership between the and the

“The life simulation experience is meant to deepen educators’ commitment to their most vulnerable community members and encourage understanding of the intense pressure financial difficulties put on individuals” said MnCUN President & CEO Mark Cummins.

During the three-hour activity, participants were grouped into “families” struggling to make ends meet in a simulated month of four fifteen-minute weeks. Each participant played a unique role within the family. These simulated families visited a variety of booths, including a school, employer, pawn shop and payday lender. Through the exercise, they encountered events and financial crises faced by many low-income Americans, including eviction, loss of utilities, lack of reliable transportation, crime, and the moment-to-moment stress of making ends meet. At the conclusion of the exercise participants shared their experiences and emotions in a powerful debriefing session.

“The Jump$tart board sought to provide an engaging experience to demonstrate the importance of personal finance in the everyday context of diverse households,” Minnesota Jump$tart Coalition Board President Karyn Thompson said. “The Life Simulation was a natural choice and we are thankful for the Minnesota Credit Union Network’s partnership.”

In addition to the Life Simulation, attendees heard remarks from Minnesota Department of Commerce Commissioner Jessica Looman. Looman praised attendees for their work in financial capability and underscored the department’s role as a resource for consumers’ financial wellbeing.

 The Minnesota Jump$tart Coalitionis part of the national Jump$tart Coalition for Financial Literacy, which brings together individuals and organizations to improve the personal financial literacy of Minnesota’s Youth. The Coalition hosts an annual event or conference in April in celebration of National Financial Literacy Month. Other events and activities have included networking events for partners, webinars for young adults, scholarships for teachers to attend the national conference, a young adult mentoring program, and more. Minnesota Jump$tart can be found on social media on Facebook and Twitter (@mnjumpstart)

 The Minnesota Credit Union Networkis the statewide trade association that works to ensure the success, growth and vitality of Minnesota credit unions. With nearly $20 billion in assets, Minnesota credit unions are local, trusted financial cooperatives that serve more than 1.6 million members at almost 400 branch locations around the state. As not-for-profit institutions, credit unions give back to the communities they serve. For more information, visit

Registration is Now Open for the April Event!



On Thursday April 26, 2018, Minnesota Jump$tart will hold its annual April Event.  This year’s event will be held at the University of Minnesota Urban Research and Outreach Center located at 2001 Plymouth Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55411

During the three-hour activity, attendee’s will be grouped into “families” who are struggling to make ends meet in a simulated month divided into four fifteen-minute “weeks”. Each participant will play a unique role within the family. These simulated families will have a chance to visit a variety of booths that include a school, employer, pawn shop and payday lender.

The event is free but registration is required. We are capping the event at 100 participants and suggest early registration. To register, click here.

The agenda for the event includes:

3:00– Registration and gathering

3:15– Welcome from Jump$tart

3:20– MN Commissioner of Commerce, Jessica Looman, Event Kick off

3:30– Overview of how the simulation works

3:45– Round 1 of life simulation begins

There will be 4 rounds with a 10 minute strategy time in between each round

5:25– End of life simulation and break

5:40– De-brief the life simulation and enjoy refreshments

6:15– End

Minnesota Jump$tart Members Serve as Judges in Local High School’s Shark Tank Competition

Members from Minnesota Jump$tart recently had the fortunate opportunity to serve as judges in Maranatha Christian Academy’s inaugural entrepreneurial “Shark Tank” competition

Juniors and Seniors at Maranatha have spent a significant portion of the term learning about what it takes to develop an idea into a viable business, core fundamentals for every entrepreneur!   In addition to developing their business ideas and presentations for the “Shark Tank” judges, the students have created a business model canvas, a value proposition and a one page written synopsis of their businesses.

The “Shark Tank” competition started off with 8 teams.  Judges were asked to evaluate the students based on criteria that included presentation skills, viability of the business, analysis of the market for the product or service and assessment of the competitive environment.

After much deliberation from the judges, congratulations are in order for Sidekicks and K-Kase.  Sidekicks, is an app-based preventative and protective service that aims to help female college students avoid dangerous situations with an emphasis on preventing sexual assault.  K-Kase created the concept of a protective smart phone case that charges devices through kinetic energy (energy created through movement and motion).

Upon completion of the competition at Maranatha, Sidekicks and K-Kase will move on to a multi-school competition at the University of Minnesota during the second week of January.  Best of luck to both teams as they move forward!


Minnesota Jump$tart Hosts Financial Literacy Bootcamp for Teachers


Minnesota Jump$tart partnered with NextGen Personal Finance to host a Financial Bootcamp for over 50 teachers from across the state of Minnesota.

NextGen Personal Finance is a non-profit organization that was formed to connect educators with free resources, professional development and advocacy tools in order to equip students with the knowledge and skills to lead financially successful and fulfilling lives.  NGPF offers a free high-school personal finance curriculum and professional development partner helping teachers deliver essential money understanding in an easy-to-grasp, engaging way.

The event started off with a welcome address from a representative from the Minnesota Department of Education, comments from Bill Cheeks, President of Jump$tart and a message from Minnesota Jump$tart president, Karyn Thompson.

After introductions, the teachers participated in workshops focused on budgeting with roommates, an introduction to credit scores, teaching through interactives and investments.  Throughout the day, the teachers in attendance were continuously providing each other with feedback and sharing resources with one another.  It was truly inspirational to see the level of engagement the teachers had and their commitment to improving the financial literacy Minnesota’s students!

We are extremely grateful to the Minnesota Department of Education for hosting the event and to our partners Everfi, University of Minnesota Extension, Junior Achievement, TopLine Federal Credit Union and BestPrep, who were on-site to provide the teacher attendees with a wealth of information and resources to use in the classroom.

Minnesota Jump$tart Scholarship Recipient Attends Annual Jump$tart Conference


Minnesota Jump$tart was proud to be able to offer a scholarship to Rosemount’s Kyle Paulson to attend the Annual Jump$tart Conference.  Kyle was kind enough to share with us his thoughts after attending the conference.

The National Jump$tart Coalition puts on an amazing conference.  So much information is packed into such a short period of time.  While at the conference I attended four different sessions.  The first began before the conference and was an investing workshop for educators.  The speaker really focused on differentiating loanership (bonds) and ownership (stock).  I have never focused on bonds in my investments class due to the small knowledge I know with them; however, this course really opened my eyes to their importance and the need to teach about them.  The speaker also taught a little about the importance of wills, power of attorney, and medical directives.

The second session I attended was the H&R Block Budget Challenge.  This year I began utilizing the program, but have failed at properly implementing the program.  Taking this session I found that I implemented the program incorrectly, into the wrong course, and answered several questions I had.  This program is best to supplement my budgeting unit, I need to take more time out of my current curriculum to explain check registry, check payments, and how to budget credit card payments.

The next session was credit reporting resources for the classroom.  I currently spend a day or two on credit reports and this is exactly what the instructor stated should be taken.  A huge focus of this unit in the classroom should be spent on what is in the report, and not the credit score number.  The reason for this is that each credit reporting agency uses a different formula, but all utilize the same information within the report.  Students should also look to see that all three reporting agencies should have the same information, if not this should be reported.  The final piece of this session was focused on how the information within the report can effect jobs, and credit worthiness when it comes to loans and leases.

The final session I took was Insurance 101 for Teen Drivers.  I briefly talk about car insurance in my course and relied upon students to learn about this insurance in their driver’s education course.  As a driving instructor for the district I realize the importance of this unit, but didn’t know how to implement it into my course.  Upon taking this course I received great curriculum and how to address it with students.  The main focus of this session was on how bad driving effects insurance rates as a whole, the different types of auto insurance, and how to reduce the cost of vehicle insurance.

The conference offers a lot of information for you to take in; however, sometimes there is too much information and not enough time.  The first suggestion I would give to future participants is to network, network, and do more networking.  The best way to do this is at the social events in the evening.  Networking will help you in a few ways.  The first is you can’t attend every session, and often times there will be 2 or 3 that you will want to attend.  Finding others who attended those sessions will allow you to get the materials from the session, and a brief synopsis of the session.  The individuals you network with add to your curriculum ideas and often time materials.

The next thing to keep in mind is that courses fill up quickly, so you may have to register for a course that is not interesting to you; however, attendance at sessions are not taken so if you change your mind last minute go to the course that will benefit you them most.  This also means that if you begin a session and it is not what you expected, find a different session to attend.  When looking at the courses, also look at your current curriculum.  If you are utilizing some of the materials, software, or other programs offered during a session and have questions about how to better utilize what you are currently using.  I attended H&R Block Budget Challenge which I began utilizing a few months ago and hadn’t had much success doing so.  After attending I had a lot of questions answered, figured out I was utilizing it in the wrong course, and how better to incorporate the program into my curriculum.

The final piece of advice I have is to attend the Exhibit Hall, but to wait till half way through to go.  It is a mad scramble of educators and you don’t get the one-on-one time with the vendors until about an hour into it.  This is an opportunity to find new curriculum, meet with vendors, and also network with current educators utilizing some of the programs.

Minnesota Jump$tart could not be more excited for Kyle. The conference was a great experience and provided Kyle with a number of resources to use in the classroom and allowed him to expand his network.  We look forward to providing additional scholarships in future years to help teachers attend this event.

If you would like to  learn more about Minnesota Jump$tart and its efforts to help promote financial education, you can contact us at


Minnesota Jump$tart Awards Two Scholarships to Attend Annual Jump$tart Conference

Minnesota Jump$tart is extremely proud to announce that it has awarded scholarships two scholarships to attend the annual Jump$tart Teacher’s Conference to two Minnesota teachers.  Recipients of the scholarships this year are Kyle Paulson from Rosemount High School and Kim DeLong from Murray County Central.

Kyle Paulson teaches Personal Money Management to approximately 250 students in grades 9-12 at Rosemount High School.  In the Personal Money Management class, Kyle helps his students work through personal finance concepts including, but not limited to Career Exploration, Budgeting / Checkbook Registry (if that isn’t a dying art), Personal Income Taxes, Banking, Insurance and Credit / Debt Management.

Kyle is looking to build on the creativity that he brings to the classroom through activities including guest speakers, field trips and simulations and is hopeful that the Jump$tart Conference will provide him with additional resources.  Kyle is hoping to better his understanding other resources are available, network with finance professionals and other teachers and further his knowledge and understanding in areas where my students struggle most (credit, and budgeting).  In addition, Kyle hopes to learn about new materials, simulations and projects that can be used in the classroom to further engage students.

Kim DeLong teaches a variety of courses including Personal Finance, Business Economics, Senior Transitions, Business Management and yearbook at Murray County Central that incorporate elements of personal finance.  Through this wide assortment of classes, Kim has been able to introduce concepts such as saving, budgeting, credit / debt, supply and demand, markets, taxes, entrepreneurship and business operations to her students.  Kim has even taught her Yearbook students to treat the creation of the annual yearbook as a business, including selling ads to raise revenue, thinking through creative solutions to be able to offer the yearbook at the lowest possible price while ensuring the overall project at least breaks even.

Looking ahead to the Jump$tart Conference, Kim is excited to meet representatives that are promoting and providing curriculum, as well as to have the opportunity to get hands on experience with a variety of resources before introducing new material to students.  Kim is also hopeful that attendance will provide her with additional resources to pursue her ultimate goal, which is to have her district require personal finance as a graduation requirement. Financial literacy is not discussed in every home.

We hope that attendance at the conference will meet both Kyle and Kim’s expectations and that they will be better equipped as they continue to do their great work in their respective classrooms.