BCS Students Accrue Interest in Money Smart Class

Given the current state of the economy, students at Bullis Charter School are learning a valuable lesson, indeed – how to turn $51,000 into more than $99,000 in the stock market.

 Fourth­ through sixth­ graders participated in Money Smart, a class designed to explain the financial industry with units on corporations, buying and selling stock, investing, risk, diversification, compound interest and current events.

“Financial literacy is something I feel should be incorporated in our state standards of education,” said Quincy Jones, teacher of Money Smart. “It really fosters the students’ critical­ thinking skills.”

In addition to learning about money matters, the students competed against other Bay Area schools in the Stock Market Game. One Bullis Charter School team placed 10th out of 38 teams.

“I learned that buying stocks actually means that you’re buying a fraction of a company,” said Kai Jarmon, a BCS fourth ­grader who took the class.

 Based on the U.S. equity market system, the educational game is sponsored by Merrill Lynch and correlates to California state standards in math, English, language arts, economics, social studies, business education and technology.

 In an effort to build the most successful portfolio of stocks, students learned how to research and evaluate the performance of various companies and industries, allowing them to better understand the effect of current events on corporate financial performance.

“We spent a lot of time watching how a particular stock was performing before choosing what to buy or not to buy,” said Karnika Pombra, a sixth­ grader in the class.

 The student teams received $100,000 in “virtual” money to invest in stocks and mutual funds in the fall. Student trades took place in real­time, just as they do for the actual stock market. By the end of the game, after investing nearly $51,000, the students had accrued $99,812.52.

“When purchasing stocks, we based our decisions on past changes in the company and trends in that industry,” said Matthew Mellea, a fourth­grader in the class.

The students’ final portfolio consisted of stock from Apple, American Airlines, Potash, Wal­Mart and Toyota Motors. Their portfolio was measured against the S&P 500 Index.

Prizes were awarded to top­-ranked teams in each California region. Bullis Charter School students Mellea, Christopher Grey and Noah Herman will receive award certificates.