Our mission is to promote economic literacy in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Here are some of the things we can offer you to help:

Upcoming events

  • Won't You Be My Neighbor?
    September 18, 2019 at 4:00 pm,
    JMU Center for Economic Education, 220 University Blvd, Harrisonburg, VA 22801, USA

  • Learning through Play
    September 26, 2019 at 4:00 pm,
    JMU Center for Economic Education, 220 University Blvd, Harrisonburg, VA 22801, USA

  • Reading Makes Cent$
    October 9, 2019 at 9:30 am,
    JMU Center for Economic Education, 220 University Blvd, Harrisonburg, VA 22801, USA

  • Econ After Hours
    October 16, 2019 at 4:30 pm,
    O'Neill's Grill, 221 University Blvd, Harrisonburg, VA 22801, USA

  • Econ Day Camp
    November 15, 2019 at 9:00 am,
    Brethren Woods Camp & Retreat Center, 4896 Armentrout Path, Keezletown, VA 22832, USA

  • Sports Economics and Personal Finance
    November 19, 2019 at 9:00 am,
    JMU Center for Economic Education, 220 University Blvd, Harrisonburg, VA 22801, USA

Stover webinars set

JMU’s own Lynne Stover will be doing seven national webinars this semester. Here are titles and registration information:

  • How to Make Apple Pie and See the World [Jan 15th]
  • Using New Picture Books to Teach Economics [Feb 13th]
  • Bite into Economics – Yummy Children’s Lit [March 12th]
  • Book to Big Screen: Children’s Lit & Econ [April, 2nd]
  • “T” is for Titanic: Lessons Learned on a Sinking Ship [April 10th]
  • Lawn Care for Fun and Profit [May 21st]
  • Book to Big Screen: Young Adult Lit & Econ [June 18th ]

And here’s a link to all the webinars in this national series:


Reading Makes Cent$ program returns

Reading Makes Cent$

Elementary librarians are invited to participate in Reading Makes Cent$, a K-5 financial literacy reading initiative.  Participating schools will receive three free books for their library if they agree to read at least one of the featured titles to a grade level and promote the K-5 reading program to students.  This year’s titles include What Pet Should I Get? By Dr. Seuss, Isabel’s Car Wash by Sheila Bair, and Whoosh! Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions by Chris Barton.  The school with the highest percentage of students participating in the reading program in each VaASL region will win $500 worth of books for their library.

K-5 students can compete by reading at least five books (or have them read to him/her) from a provided list of over fifty books.  Students may submit an entry form by Friday, April 13, 2018 indicating the books they read with a sentence about their favorite title.  From a drawing of all entries, two students in each VAASL region will be selected to receive Virginia529SM inVESTSM accounts with an initial balance of $529.

Reading Makes Cent$ is an excellent way to encourage reading and reinforce the K-5 economic strand in the Social Science Standards of Learning, as well as promote saving for college.  Suggested lessons, activities, and teacher workshops are available to assist teachers and librarians in understanding the concepts and presenting them to students in a meaningful and engaging manner.

This program is presented by Virginia529 College Savings Plan and the Virginia Council for Economic Education with input and support from the Virginia Association of School Librarians.

For more information, applications for librarians and students, and a link to instructional materials, visit the Reading Makes Cent$ Web site: www.readingmakescents.com.

For the Record: 2017 webinars

JMU’s own Lynne Stover is doing nationally promoted webinars this semester for the Council on Economic Education. All are welcome to participate. Here are descriptions and registration links:

Using Children’s Literature to Teach Elementary Math and Economics
October 17 2017, 7:00PM -8:00PM EDT
Discover how picture books can give your classroom an instant boost by combining literature, math, and economics to teach activity-based lessons☑ REGISTER

Natural Disasters in Children’s Literature: Tales of Choices and Changes
November 14, 7:00PM -8:00PM EST
Hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes are all life-changing events that encourage us to be planners and creative problem solvers. This session addresses the concepts of scarcity, incentives, opportunity cost, and survival skills using the content in popular children’s books. ☑ REGISTER

Using “New” Children’s Chapter Books to Teach Entrepreneurship, Economics & Ethics
December 12, 7:00PM -8:00PM EST
This session features two new chapter book series: Cleo Edison Oliver: Playground Millionaire and Billy Sure: Kid Entrepreneur. Participants will be introduced to related interactive lessons and hands-on activities☑ REGISTER

Mini-grants available

Here’s a small grant program that may be of interest to area educators. The purpose is to provide seed money up to $250 to assist Virginia teachers to expand and promote economic and/or financial education in their K-12 classrooms. Grant applications must be received by the Virginia Council on Economic Education by November 1, 2017. Decisions will be made and checks mailed in early December 2017. Here’s a link to the application form:


PCHS students get national ranking

Page County High School has brought home a top-15 national ranking for excellence in personal finance instruction.

The school was recognized April 19 in New York City for students’ no. 14 ranking on a standardized test offered by Working in Support of Education (w!se).

PCHS teacher Dianna Alger, who instructed the students in personal finance, represented the school at the New York presentation honoring the “100 Best w!se High Schools Teaching Personal Finance.”

“I am so very proud of my students for doing so well on the w!se Financial Literacy Certification test.  It was an honor to represent them and Page County High School at the ceremony this year,” Alger said.

This is the school’s second year to be nationally ranked, following last year’s no. 26 ranking.

Personal finance, the study of individual money management and wealth building, is part of a required economics and personal finance course now mandatory for graduation from Virginia high schools.

“It’s super for Dianna’s students to go up in the rankings even as the competition is getting tougher,” said Dr. William C. Wood, director of the James Madison University Center for Economic Education.

Wood pointed out that schools in 46 states participated in this year’s w!se certification program, up from 36 five years ago. The JMU Center supports personal finance education in the Shenandoah Valley, with funding from Shenandoah Valley Economic Education, Inc.

Working in Support of Education (w!se) is a New York-based educational not-for-profit focused on promoting student financial literacy nationwide, and sponsored by Voya Financial®.

First established in 2003, w!se’s award-winning Financial Literacy Certification program provides teachers with a curriculum and instructional resources to teach personal finance and measure students’ financial literacy through w!se’s Certification Test.

Students who pass the test are designated Certified Financially Literate™. w!se students in 46 states receive close to 6 million hours of personal finance instruction annually.

Here’s this year’s video on the program:


Summer institute set

In the summer of 2018, the James Madison University Center for Economic Education will be offering a five-day summer institute in personal finance June 18-22. The content is ideal for those who will be teaching the required economics and personal finance class at the high school level, but also is suitable for any educator seeking to do a better job of managing personal finances. Presentations from industry experts are combined with demonstrations of activities and materials in a casual and fast-paced atmosphere. Here’s more information and a registration link: ☑ REGISTER

Reading Makes Cent$ lessons posted


JMU’s Lynne Stover continues to play a key role in the state delivery of the “Reading Makes Cent$” program sponsored by the Virginia Council on Economic Education and Virginia 529. The program includes free economics-related books for the libraries, associated instructional materials, and competitions for the students. Lessons authored by Stover and edited by the Virginia Council on Economic Education are available for each title. For the new school year, the three featured titles are:


My Rows and Piles of Coins by Tololwa M. Mollel, described as the story of a resourceful and thoughtful boy. The story is set in Tanzania in the 1960s.

Rock, Brock, and the Savings Shock by Sheila Bair, the story of two brothers who have very different attitudes about dealing with money.

Lemonade in Winter by Emily Jenkins illustrated by G. Brian Karas, a story about sibling entrepreneurship.

Here again is the link to the lessons: Reading Makes Cent$ lessons

Kohrs wins top state award

Russell Kohrs

Russell Kohrs of the Massanutten Regional Governor’s School has won the top prize in the open state economic education awards competition sponsored by the Virginia Council on Economic Education.

The winning project was “Concentrating on Copper: An Exploration in Mineral Commodities,” developed at Broadway High School. This project combined earth science principles and economic concepts to show students the importance of finite resources.

Since completing the project at Broadway, Kohrs has joined the faculty of the Massanutten Regional Governor’s School for Environmental Science and Technology in Mt. Jackson.

Kohrs will be recognized at a December 11 presentation in Richmond.

The Kohrs project had earlier won the grand prize in local competition sponsored by the Harrisonburg Rotary Club and the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce.

GEM Fair gets new sponsor: Thanks, Union Bank & Trust!

Union_logo_2c_354_k_pUnion Bank & Trust is now the presenting sponsor of the Global Entrepreneurship Marketplace Fair (GEM Fair). Held each year at James Madison University, the GEM Fair brings together Mini-Economics from throughout the area for a simulated international marketplace.

“We very much appreciate the sponsorship and the financial boost it will bring to this event,” said Dr. William C. Wood, director of the JMU Center for Economic Education.

March 9, 2016 is now set as the date of the next GEM Fair presented by Union Bank & Trust. The venue for 2016 is JMU’s Festival Conference Center. The day will include a Roll Call of the Mini-Economy nations, market session, and awards ceremony. Here’s a link to more on the GEM Fair.