Superintendent’s Memo #044-13

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

Department of Education

February 15, 2013

TO:  Division Superintendents

FROM:  Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT:  Professional Development and Instructional Resources for Economics and Personal Finance

The Virginia Department of Education, in partnership with the Virginia Council on Economic Education, announces the following programs and resources to assist with the successful implementation of the economics and personal finance graduation requirement.

2013 Schedule for Professional Development
The 2013 schedule of professional development opportunities is provided by the Virginia Council on Economic Education (VCEE) and affiliated university-based centers for economic education with substantial in-kind and financial support from the financial services industry.  Feedback has been positive, both in terms of the content presented and the creative lesson ideas provided to make the concepts engaging and relevant for students.

Economics institutes (42 instructional hours) and personal finance institutes (40 instructional hours) are provided at no charge to teachers or school divisions and participants receive instructional resources valued at over $100.  Personal finance institutes provide opportunities for teachers to hear from industry experts and to earn the w!se personal finance teacher certification.  Visit for other details and to register.  Institutes not having an enrollment of 20 teachers by April 19 may be cancelled.  School divisions interested in scheduling an institute in their area should contact VCEE.  Additional institutes will be provided if the 20-teacher minimum enrollment can be met.

Governor McDonnell has commended teachers who have fully completed one or both of the institutes, and these teachers are listed by school division on the Secretary of Education’s Web site.

Governor’s Challenge in Economics and Personal Finance
High school teachers are encouraged to register their students to participate in an online challenge available between March 1 to 26, 2013.  In teams of four, students may participate in an economics division (Adams Smith for advanced classes and David Ricardo for all others).  Student teams may also participate in a Personal Finance Division.
Regional winners and other high scoring teams will be recognized and invited to participate in a live championship challenge held at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond on April 17, 2013.  Teachers may register their students for the economics divisions at and/or the personal finance division at

Students invited to the Personal Finance Championship Challenge will assume the role of a financial planner and present their recommendations to a family based on the facts provided in the case study posted here.  Teachers should find this a valuable exercise for their students regardless of whether they are able to participate in the final championship round.

Enhanced Scope and Sequence
The Virginia Council on Economic Education has posted a day-by-day approach for teaching Virginia’s Economics and Personal Finance course.  A document for each unit provides a brief summary of the content for each day, key vocabulary, relevant portions of the curriculum framework, as well as some teaching tips, lessons, and resources.

This Web site was created to help teachers share and find quality resources that can be used in teaching Virginia's economics and personal finance course.  Teachers can search by keywords, Standards of Learning (SOL), and other search options to find lesson plans, speakers, videos, simulations, and numerous resources to help them teach a particular concept.  Businesses from the financial services industry and nonprofit and educational organizations collaborated with the Virginia Department of Education to make this resource clearinghouse available to teachers.  Teachers are encouraged to use this Web site and submit quality resources to it for the benefit of other teachers and their students.

If you have questions relating to any of the VCEE programs, please contact Sarah Hopkins Finley, executive director of the Virginia Council on Economic Education, at 804-827-1211 or by e-mail at  If you need additional information about the graduation requirement, please contact Judith Sams, program specialist, business and information technology, at 804-371-0196 or by e-mail at