AUGUSTA — Over the next month, Maine educators have a golden opportunity to learn how to be effective personal finance teachers, guided by local and national experts during free online, on-demand training.

About 300 teachers have already signed up, but personal finance expert John Pelletier says there is plenty of room for more, it’s free, and educators can take up to seven hours of online lessons on their own personal schedule. Educators can complete and get professional development credit for as few or as many modules as they wish.

Pelletier, director of the Center for Financial Literacy at Champlain College in Burlington, Vt., says the virtual academy, which will be available through December 16, is primarily designed to improve the financial knowledge of middle and high school students by giving Maine educators access to the tools, resources and training they need to successfully integrate Maine’s personal finance standards into their classrooms.

To enroll at no cost, go to the Financial Educator Virtual Academy. Educators will receive contact hours for each course module attended, and the first 100 Maine classroom teachers to complete all seven hours of training will receive a $50 Amazon gift card. The online course offering will be available through December 16, 2022.

Personal finance, Pelletier says, has been proven to be among the most important subjects young people can take in school. He notes that Maine has received a “B” from the Nation’s Report Card on Financial Literacy.

“Too many Maine students lack basic financial knowledge, such as the importance of a credit score, saving for a rainy day and retirement, or even opening a bank account,” says Pelletier. “Being unprepared poses a challenge for those students who take on student loan debt to achieve higher education. We can change futures for our young people in Maine, but we need confident, informed teachers to help them learn these critical lessons.” He notes that the Champlain Center’s teacher training model in Vermont has been a huge success and has become a national model.


Next Generation Personal Finance’s 2022 State of Financial Education Report shows that 15.6 percent of Maine students have guaranteed access to a semester-long personal finance course.

Maine educators can earn up to seven hours of professional development training and receive suggestions for grade-appropriate personal finance classroom resources over the duration of the virtual academy.

Mary Dyer, President of the Maine Jumpstart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy and FAME’s Financial Education Programs Manager, says Maine and other states have embraced the online training since it provides educators with an opportunity to expand their knowledge and teaching strategies without losing time in the classroom. “Educators will be able to participate in the online training at any time, which provides much-needed flexibility. Teachers at any grade level will find appropriate and relevant content and resources that align with Maine’s Learning Results for personal finance and economics,” says Dyer.

The free online course is supported by the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME), the Center for Financial Literacy at Champlain College, the Maine Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy the Office of the Maine State Treasurer, and Next Gen Personal Finance.

“COVID-19 has changed our approach to teaching as educators” says Jacob Newcomb, a teacher at Bonny Eagle High School. “We need as many professional development and training opportunities as possible to make these changes, and I am so impressed with this online program offered by Maine Jumpstart that is now accessible to all K-12 educators in Maine. These seven short trainings will be integral to helping our students and their families make sound economic and personal finance decisions in this challenging world.”

During the virtual academy, which features nationally known experts, participants will learn how to implement the JumpStart National Standards in K-12 Financial Personal Finance Education. These standards allow for the teaching of personal finance in an interdisciplinary or stand-alone manner.

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