Superintendent’s Memo #065-12

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

Department of Education

March 9, 2012

TO:  Division Superintendents

FROM:  Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT:  High School Economics and Personal Finance Course

In a continuing effort to assist school divisions with the successful implementation of the new economics and personal finance graduation requirement, the Virginia Department of Education, in partnership with the Governor’s Office and private and nonprofit sectors, announces the following additional programs and resources to assist teachers and their students.

2012 Schedule for Professional Development
In response to the survey of superintendents this past fall, attached is the 2012 schedule of professional development opportunities 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 both engaging and relevant for students.

Economics institutes providing 42 instructional hours and personal finance institutes (40 instructional hours) are provided at no charge to teachers or school divisions.  However, some require a refundable deposit to hold one of the limited seats.  Teachers receive curriculum valued over $100.  Teachers in the personal finance institute will hear from industry experts and can take the w!se personal finance teacher certification test.  An online course focused on economics content will also be offered this summer and fall.

Visit for other details and to register.  Institutes not having an enrollment of 20 teachers by May 1 may be cancelled.  VCEE will endeavor to offer additional institutes if they can meet the 20 teacher minimum.

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 7 and April 4, 2012. In teams of four, students may participate in an economics division (Adam Smith for advanced classes, and David Ricardo for all others). Student teams may also participate in a personal finance division. Eight regional winners in each of the three divisions will be recognized. They, and four other high scoring teams in each division, will be invited to participate in a live championship challenge held at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond on April 20, 2012.

Students invited to the Personal Finance Championship Challenge will be asked to act as financial planners and present their recommendations to the Martinez family based on the facts provided in a case study, balance sheet and budget.  Teachers should find this a valuable exercise for their students regardless of whether they are able to participate in the final championship round.

More details are available at: Teachers may register their students for the economics divisions at and/or the personal finance division at

The press release from the Governor’s Office announcing this Challenge is attached.

Enhanced Scope and Sequence
The Virginia Council on Economic Education has posted a sample day-by-day approach for teaching Virginia’s high school Economics and Personal Finance course.  It can be found at  A document is available for each unit providing a brief summary of the content for each day, key vocabulary, portions of a curriculum framework, as well as teaching tips and lessons and resources.
This Web site was created to help teachers share and find quality resources that they can use in teaching Virginia's economics and personal finance course. Teachers can search by keywords, SOL, and other search options to find lesson plans, speakers, videos, simulations, and other resources to help them get a particular concept across to their students. Businesses from the financial services industry and nonprofit and educational organizations collaborated with the Department of Education to make this resource clearinghouse available to teachers.  Encourage teachers to use this Web site and submit quality resources to it for the benefit of other teachers and students.

If you have questions relating to any of these 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 this graduation requirement, please contact Judith Sams, specialist for business and information technology and related clusters by e-mail at or at (804) 371-0196, or Beverly M. Thurston, history and social science coordinator, by e-mail at or at (804) 225-2893.



  1. Professional Development Opportunities Economics and Personal Finance 2012 (PDF)
  2. Governor McDonnell Announces Governorís Challenge in Economics and Personal Finance (PDF)