KIEL — Local students are getting a free education in how to manage their money. Cleveland State Bank is working with Banzai, a national award-winning financial literacy program, to make curriculum available to local schools completely free.
“Banzai is a web-based financial literacy program. Kids get their own accounts, and they work through assignments that are based on real life,” Morgan Vandagriff, co-founder of Banzai, said. “But because Cleveland State Bank is sponsoring it, local schools get it for free. More than ever, it’s important that kids develop sound financial skills to prepare them for the real world, and Cleveland State Bank realizes that and they’re doing something about it.”
Banzai is an interactive, online program supplemented by printed workbooks which aligns with state curriculum requirements for personal finance education. It has become the largest program of its kind, servicing more than 25,000 teachers and available in all 50 states.
Cleveland State Bank has offered time, money, industry experience, and a variety of bank resources to help local schools teach personal finance in the classroom. Students using the program are exposed to real-life scenarios where they learn to pay bills and balance a budget—but it is not always easy. Students must learn to manage unexpected expenses such as parking tickets, interest charges, and overdraft fees. The educational program also introduces students to auto loans, bank statements, entertainment costs, savings, and more.
“Too often students get out of school and they just aren’t ready for the financial roller coasters life can give us,” Vandagriff said. “Banzai teaches students to navigate those twists and turns and come out on top. We’re excited to work with Cleveland State Bank to improve financial literacy in local schools.”
For over 10 years, Cleveland State Bank has earned the reputation of promoting financial literacy from Wisconsin Bankers Association for their participation in Teach Children to Save and Junior Achievement programs. Along with the Banzai Financial Literacy Program, schools are welcome to invite a speaker from Cleveland State Bank to join their classroom and answer any questions teachers or students may have.
Teachers interested in using the Banzai program can visit csb.teachbanzai.com or call 888-8-BANZAI.
Both teachers and students from the area are finding Banzai to be a valuable program. Patrick from the Sheboygan Falls School District told Cleveland State Bank, “I can’t tell you how much we appreciate you sponsoring our use of Banzai. Not only did it make the use of the site more enjoyable, but it also was a great opportunity for the students to see how local businesses and the school can Banzai! Students from the Sheboygan Falls School District recently worked through some exercises in the Banzai program brought to them by Cleveland State Bank work together to benefit our students and their education. Thank you again!”
Jennifer Mischler, student in the Sheboygan Falls School District, said, “I didn’t know that it was so hard to budget and try and save money. I also learned all the vocabulary words and what they mean. I also learned you have to be extra careful when it comes to insurance and bills. I didn’t know that so many things could happen so fast. In all I learned a lot and hopefully I will be ready for the future and soon-to-come bills.”
Sienna Compton, a student in the Sheboygan Falls School District, said, “I learned that it is a lot of work to control your money and pay your bills. You have to take some changes when you are paying those bills. It is very hard to earn extra money, unless you have another side job. It’s best to have a side job be- cause one job in Banzai was not going to work for me. I never knew that life was this hard with bills and money, but now I know what to expect in the future.”
Vickie, a teacher from the Sheboygan Falls School District, said, “I just started using the program this week with one of my classes. So far so good. Students like to work with the Web site and all feel they can be rich, but then life’s normal expenses get in the way.”
Lastly, teacher Jennifer from the New Holstein School District said, “I used it last quarter in my technology class with sixth graders. I had them complete the scenarios and then put some questions on Google Forms that they needed to answer before going on to the next scenario. Many got to the independent game and some even played it more than once to see if they could save more money than the last time. I even had some students say that their parents were glad that they were learning these things as it is important to their independent life later.”