April 16, 2020
By: R. Michael Brown, JA Director of Operations & Marketing
Junior Achievement (JA) of the Palm Beaches & Treasure Coast is excited about the opportunity to help teachers and students in the sudden switch to provide education in virtual classrooms.
JA saw a need for digital content to help teachers and students in their virtual classrooms and within the first couple of weeks of the schools closing, JA provided over 50 digital lessons and activities.
The list of JA content and number of students served is surging.
“We are now serving more than 7,000 students with digital content,” said Claudia Kirk Barto, president of Junior Achievement of the Palm Beaches & Treasure Coast. “Many of our in-class programs that we offer are now virtual lessons.”
JA of the Palm Beaches & Treasure Coast launched JA Google Classrooms to help teachers provide content for their digital classes that started on Monday, March 30, when new virtual schools went into session.
Teachers can log in and get the free content using their own Google Classroom and enter the following codes for each grade level [TEACHERS ONLY]:
• Elementary School: s35zthz
• Middle School: k2fk2gp
• High School: 3zrfw4a
There are dozens of lessons, videos, interactive content, and activities to choose from.
Examples of JA Lessons Include
• What is Free Enterprise?
• Self Knowledge Treasure Hunt
• TED Talk: How Does the Stock Market Work?
• TED Talk: Women Entrepreneurs, Example Not Exception
• Career Speaker Series (Video of professionals explaining their careers)
• The Money Jar Podcasts
• Assembling Your Career
• Economics for Success
• It’s My Future
• Practical Money Skills
• All In Together
• Warren Buffet’s Secret Millionaire’s Club
• Your Idea is a Hit! Now What?
All users just need a @gmail.com email account to gain access. Teachers are asked to fill out the brief survey at the beginning of the JA Google Classroom when they join. Then they are free to use the content.
Google Classrooms is the primary way teachers interact with students online. Google Classroom is a free web service, developed by Google for schools, that aims to simplify creating, distributing, and grading assignments in a paperless way. The primary purpose of Google Classroom is to streamline the process of sharing files between teachers and students.
“JA is in the K-12 school content making business but our model was to deliver lessons in the actual classroom,” said Barto. “We quickly evaluated what we offered and built the infrastructure, learned new tools to convert and make new digital content, and our staff started producing and organizing the content for easy use. Teachers and school administrators saw the value immediately and now are asking for more.”
Virtual Career Fair
“The School District of Palm Beach County asked our JA office to produce a Virtual Career Fair for their elementary schools so we’re hard at work on that right now,” said Barto. “It’s a great fit for our mission which is to foster work-readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy skills. We are fortunate to have a staff that has years of experience in distance learning, producing digital content, and meeting student needs based on Florida’s education standards.”
Content is being produced to meet student needs from all demographics. For example, the Career Speaker Series will have some professionals speaking in Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole, as well as English. This will help the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) populations.
JA USA is Stepping Up
Junior Achievement USA and the 107 JA areas around the country have teamed up and are producing more content and lessons for schools to use for free and that content is also being shared by JA of the Palm Beaches & Treasure Coast. Thousands of digital lessons and activities will be available.
“This free online content from JA is available now and we hope that schools add it to their already great content in this new world of virtual classrooms,” said Barto. “Fortunately, most of our existing funding organizations are being flexible as we pivot from in-classroom to virtual classrooms; but, the COVID-19 crisis is putting pressure on finances for non-profits. It’s our hope that donors see the tremendous value we are providing to the schools, teachers, and students and that the donors provide the additional support we need to help us make this new content and get through this crisis together.”
REPORTERS UPDATE [8-24-2020]: JA Palm Beach & Treasure Coast’s student served target for the school year was 25,500 students. By the end of the 2019-2020 school year, the local JA organization served more than 40,700 students by producing and delivering digital content to help teachers and students get through the crisis. This new model to deliver JA content will continue in the future to provide at-home and in-classroom distance learning material on entrepreneurship, personal and business finance, and work readiness skills.