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Rock Star Educator’s Name:
Christine Brownfield

David L. Mackenzie PreK-8, Detroit, Michigan

Years as Teacher:
23 years

Grade Level(s): 

Science and Social Studies

Making Money Matter

Understanding how important financial literacy is for young people, Christine Brownfield says she is driven to support students as they build a foundation of knowledge on financial health. She gives thanks to JumpStart’s commitment and support, and says she has been able to incorporate Financial Friday’s into her Social Studies curriculum.  “The students’ excitement has been palatable,” says Brownfield. “Since we’ve implemented the program, not a Friday has passed without several students walking into the classroom and announcing, ‘It Is Financial Friday!’”  She says she feels very strongly about teaching her students how to be responsible consumers.  “The choices they make in the next few years will impact the rest of their lives.”

Financial Education Requirement

High school students are required to earn a half of credit in Economics or Civics & Government.  It is left to the discretion of the district to develop a personal finance or personal economics requirement.  Her students will be among the first to enter their ninth-grade year in the Detroit Public School Community District with a basic understanding of finance. As next year will be the first year that personal finance is required as part of the 9th grade Social Studies curriculum, she says JumpStart will help her students be leaders in this area.

Called to Teach

From a young age Christine knew that teaching would be her life’s work. She comes from a long line of educators and being raised in a family of teachers was a natural pathway to a life of her own in education. Her love of nature led her to choose science as her focus. She wants to share her passion for understanding the world around her and the wonder of nature. That understanding of the world has helped her to see that Social Science is her second love. She wants her students to develop an appreciation for the diversity and awe of the planet we call home.

Go-to Resources

The Detroit Chapter of Junior Achievement (JA) has supported DPSCD students for years.  Students visit their Financial Park to move through the personal finance simulator as the culminating activity to the JA curriculum.  In addition, she says the JumpStart Clearinghouse has been an invaluable source of materials and FoolProofMe’s generous free subscription has made it her go-to curriculum resource this year.  “It is an amazing resource that it can be accessed online!” says Brownfield.

Her Story

“At Mackenzie beginning in sixth grade, our team of teachers loop to the next grade with our students all the way to eighth grade.  My eighth-grade students have taken me on amazing three-year journey. These amazing young people opened my eyes to personal finance through a large garden project we started three years ago.  As they redesigned and built our garden program, I realized that we, including myself, had very little knowledge of personal finance. These skills were necessary for our project in regard to budgeting and project financing.  As the garden project blossomed so did our interest in personal finance and consumer money skills.  I sought out opportunities and resources to build our understanding and our project was enhanced by incorporating what we’ve learned. As the garden project came to a close our interest in personal finance has not.  We may only get an hour or two a week to spend on developing our financial skills but we are determined to make it a priority.”