Susan Nunamaker, Finalist for the 2013 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics Teaching
Greenville News front page story about Hatching new companies.
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This hands-on session demonstrated a classroom management system where students are immersed in a real-world economy throughout the school day, leading to an authentic understanding of our financial system and increased motivation to succeed. Students become personally responsible for their learning through relevancy and purpose. Aligned to National Financial Literacy Standards and Common Core State Standards, this management system strengthens our students, schools, and communities.
By BRETT MCLAUGHLIN
The Journal, Seneca SC
July 15, 2011
SENECA — Cradle to grave success stories were the order of the day as the Oconee Alliance celebrated its fifth birthday on Thursday.
Attendees heard from a pair of women who have turned dreams into independent businesses success stories and a third woman who is turning lives around, one person at a time.
Registered nurse Christina Wafer and teacher Susan Nunamaker both told the audience that they have found business success largely through the efforts of the fledgling Mountain Lakes Business Development Corp. The organization’s chairman, Carl Cliche, said the mission of the three-county MLBDC is to provide education, mentoring and opportunities to small business entrepreneurs.
That is exactly what both Wafer and Nunamaker said they received.Wafer said she used the resources of MLBDC to launch Blue Ridge Geriatric Car Management, a Pendleton-based firm that provides a wide array of services to the aging and their families.
“In many families, the kids have their own families, they are working full time and, in many cases, the parents are all at a distance,” she said. “My goal is to be an advocate for those families.”
Nunamaker has spun off her business from a popular classroom program she developed for her third grade classroom at Clemson Elementary. Through her business, the former financial analyst is now marketing her concept for teaching financial literacy to youngsters to educators across the state.
“My goal is simple,” she said, “to be at the forefront of financial literacy for children across the country.”
Cliche said the two women are among five startups, providing 35 new jobs the MLDBC has helped create the past nine months. The agency, which is in the process of developing an incubator site in Walhalla, is a partnership of Tri-County Technical College and the Oconee Economic Development Corporation.
He encouraged Alliance attendees to consider both financial and in-kind contributions to the MLBDC, adding that 11 incubator clients will begin training on Tri-County campuses this fall.
The Alliance audience also heard from Stephanie Enders, a volunteer with the Ripple of 1 program, which operates through the Oconee County United Way.Enders said her passion is to assist men and women who are living on government assistance to escape poverty and turn their lives around. She said the focus is on impacting the lives of children in these families.
“I tell them that if you are still living, you have a reason for being here, and that reason is bigger than government assistance,” Enders said.
She encouraged the audience to become involved financially or as mentors in the program, adding that 40 percent of the families receiving assistance want to “get out of the drama of their lives.”
“This is a movement,” Enders said, “not an overnight fix. We are teaching parents a better way to live.”
by Liz Carey, Independent Mail
OCONEE COUNTY — Second graders in Cheryl Marumoto’s class at Blue Ridge Elementary School get more than a gold star for doing well in class. They get paid.
While it isn’t real money, students do get credit for good behavior as part of the Money Cents for Kids program, Marumoto uses in her classroom.
Developed by Susan Nunamaker, the program is a way to teach financial knowledge, while incorporating positive reinforcement of good behavior.
“The goal of the Money Cents For Kids classroom program is to motivate students to become responsible decision-makers on a daily basis, leading to a lifetime of responsible decision-making,” Nunamaker said. “This includes responsible choices in behavior, academics, and financial decisions. Money Cents For Kids hopes to strengthen both our students’ and communities’ futures by encouraging responsible decision-making within a classroom’s nurturing environment during students’ highly formative kindergarten through fifth grade years.”
Nunamaker is a former financial analyst who is now a third grade teacher at Clemson Elementary School.
Part of the School District of Oconee County, Maramoto’s class is the only one at Blue Ridge participating in the program. The program is used by all grades at Ravenel Elementary School. The program is in place in 22 schools throughout three counties in South Carolina and North Carolina.
The program not only teachers children about finances, officials said, but also about math, social studies, reading and other parts of the school districts curriculum.
“This system teaches them not only about economics, but its ties in with the rest of the curriculum as well,” Marumoto said. “They’re learning social standards in how to behave. They’re learning social studies with the economics portion of it. They’re learning math obviously, from the banking and financial aspect and there is a financial standard in our district’s curriculum.”
Every week, students are assigned a job. From cleaning expert, to banker, to tax collector, to editor, the students have a specific task to do. If they complete their task, and work hard at being well-behaved, they get $10 in class money.
If their behavior falls off or they don’t do their job, they only get $5.
But, like in the real world, if they don’t do well on one day, they can work harder to get back up to that optimum pay level.
“What I like about this is that they have the opportunity to make improvements,” said Blue Ridge principal Idasa Cobb. “If they perform poorly, it’s not hopeless. They have the chance to move back up, but there are still consequences for their actions.”
Students exchange their class credits for class money which they can spend - after they pay for rent and taxes. Rent and taxes are $2 each.
As the year progresses, students will learn about starting their own businesses, investing in stock and bonds or the lottery, and ownership of their desks versus rental.
“Through this they take responsibility for their actions,” Marumoto said. “They are paid for their performance. And they get to learn valuable lessons about economics and finance.”
Marumoto said the students will also learn about debt.
“We will teach them how if you go into debt, you can’t buy anything else until you pay off that debt,” she said. “It’s an important lesson to learn.”
Monday, students gathered around the bankers trying to exchange their credits and pay their rent and taxes. After a few minutes of surrounding the bankers, the children fell into line and waited their turn.
“It’s really cool,” said Austin Holder, a 7-year-old in the class. “I like earning the money, but I don’t like paying the taxes and rent.”
Caleb Head, 7, said he felt the same way. This week, he said, he was going to work harder to earn more money.
“I hope I get $10 next week. I only have $1 left this week,” he said. “I don’t know why we have to pay rent and taxes. I’m almost broke.”
The program serves not only as a means to teach, but as a discipline tool, Cobb said.
“It helps reinforce positive behavior,” she said. “And it’s a classroom management tool. In another six months, I can see this class functioning on its own.”
Cobb and Marumoto said they hope the program spreads throughout the school as well. Already other teachers are interested in using the program in their classrooms, Cobb said.
And it’s already spreading into students’ homes, Cobb said.
“I heard one story where a child was in Walmart with their dad and he tried to pay with a credit card,” Cobb said. “The child started saying ‘No Dad, you can’t pay with a credit card. Then we’ll have debt.’ It looks like its already having an impact beyond the classroom.”
Published in The Electric City News,
Parents are very fortunate in the Upstate to hve some great schools as well as excellent teachers who are hard-working, conscientious and who seem to really care about the students.
Parents can drop off their children in the morning and feel confident that they are in a solid educational environment. Every once in a while, if you’re lucky, your child may have a teacher who is considered a trailblazer, a risk taker and who has an exceptional mind and is willing to step out of the box and go for what most teachers only “dream” of trying. Susan Ridgeway Nunamaker is that such teacher.
A former Anderson teacher, Susan is accredited with an impressive educational resume, as well as determination and resolve to do what is most beneficial for the student. Mrs. Nunamaker has created and implemented a hands-on program called Money Cents. The program has been such a success that it is now offered during the summer as a camp.
Money Cents for Kids is a total immersion financial literacy experience. Students are immersed in a micro-economy and utilize the following of real-world and vital life lessons throughout their camp experiences: credit cards, debit cards, check writing, stocks, bonds, career goals and skills, government, taxes, rent, home ownership, insurance, wills, employment and entrepreneurship.
Students are immersed in a real-world environment each day, leading to an authentic understanding of our financial system and how to maximize the money that they earn. Lessons reach across curricula to include math, reading, writing, and social studies standards. Money Cents for Kids lessons are aligned to South Carolina’s Fionancial Literacy Standards in addition to core curriculum standards.
It is a cutting-edge and innovative program that strengthens our students, schools, and communities. Visit www.moneycentsforkids.com for more information about camps, after-school care, lessons, K-12 professional development sessions, and classroom curriculum teachers training.
Testimonial: “Our son Chase had Mrs. Nunamaker in the third grade. I was excited and concerned about having a new teacher because we knew nothing about her. She turned out to be one of the best teachers our son has ever had. She was so creative in the classroom and introduced them to so many new and interesting ways of learning. She is definitely an ‘out of the box’ teacher and presented a wonderful way to keep a classroom of kids interested. I know that Chase will look back and remember Mrs. Nunamaker as one of the teachers that really impacted his life.” Phylis Kinsey, parent.