Wyotowne opens for NCSD students

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Fifth grade students from Casper’s Sagewood Elementary got their first glance at WyoTowne Monday. The Towne is part of a new learning program in the Natrona County School District where students will learn financial literacy and money management skills.
WyoTowne is in session. Sagewood Elementary students were mayors, police officers, doctors and more as they experienced running a town and living on a budget. The day was a culmination of many classroom lessons.
Kenan Smith, a Sagewood 5th grader said “When we first started it was a bit confusing doing the checks and learning all of it. But eventually we caught on and learned how to do it.”
Brody Glickmen, another Sagewood 5th grader said “(I learned about) spending more money more wisely. As in writing down the money I spend, and making sure I have enough money to buy whatever I want.
Natrona County is the first Wyoming school district to implement the curriculum and build a WyoTowne center for students. State Superintendent Jillian Balow hopes it will expand to other school districts around the state.
“It's really setting the foundation for financial literacy and civic engagement,” said Superintendent Balow.
There is a financial literacy requirement to graduate high school, but the time spent teaching is inconsistent across the state. Balow said WyoTowne itself may not be available to all students, but the classroom lessons could be. This WyoTowne was largely made possible by the Daniels Fund.
Linda Childers, with the Daniels Fund said “Bill Daniels was very involved in this in his lifetime. And he always said, no matter how much money someone has, there's a finite amount. And you need to learn how to manage it or it will manage you. But more importantly to bill was how the free enterprise system works and how all of these kids work together."
The work of the Daniels Fund and AmeriTowne Colorado impressed Sagewood Elementary teachers and they decided to work this optional curriculum into their lessons.
Tyler Hartel, the Sagewood principal said “The teachers were able to prioritize the learning, get some really important things, supply and demand, some simple day to day financial literacy components. They fit that into a ten week period and here we are at the culminating event.”
Seven schools are using the new curriculum this year. Fourteen more schools will use the curriculum next year and the remaining NCSD schools will use the curriculum the year after.