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   from the issue of April 13, 2006

UNL and U.S. Bank open Clinton Elementary 'bank'

The newest "branch" of U.S. Bank opened April 11 at Clinton Elementary School, 1520 N. 29th St. Business is limited to savings deposits, however, and customers will have to work in transactions between classes.

The bank is the culmination of a six-month planning process involving school faculty, U.S. Bank, and the UNL Center for Economic Education. The branch is modeled after a highly successful bank-in-the-school project at Conestoga Elementary in Omaha, an economics and math magnet school.

Last fall, the UNL Center for Economic Education began partnership with Clinton Elementary and U.S. Bank in Lincoln. "Our role is to help plan projects that make Clinton Elementary special, provide professional development in economics for the staff, and to help schools develop and select new economics lessons as part of their economics curriculum," said Tammie Fischer, director of the Center for Economic Education.

The student bank is just such a project. It is designed to: introduce the economic concept of savings early and reinforce this idea throughout the elementary curriculum; demonstrate that saving should be part of a student's personal finance plan for his or her future; and increase parental involvement through banking activity.

"The goal of this program is to provide our students the opportunities to not only learn about savings and how banks operate, but to also become savers themselves," said Diana Pasco, school wide coordinator at Clinton Elementary. "We are building a community of economists here at Clinton and want our children to become savvy savers."

During the winter months, Fischer met with Lynn Larson, community banking manager of U.S. Bank, and Clinton staff to set the project in motion. Clinton teachers visited the Conestoga Elementary bank in Omaha to observe their branch in action. Student tellers were interviewed and selected by teachers at Clinton and trained by Karen Gilmore, gifted facilitator, along with U.S. Bank staff. Targeted savings lessons will be taught by teachers in fourth and fifth grades to prepare students for the bank opening.

The Clinton bank is open once a week for savings deposits only. It is staffed by a U.S. Bank teller and student tellers. Incentives are provided as students reach various savings goals. All students must obtain parental permission to participate.

Each year, new students will have the opportunity to be part of the fourth- and fifth-grade teller group.

The students will maintain their accounts for the duration of their time at Clinton, Fischer said. Upon graduation, participating students will be able to open their own savings accounts or withdraw the money.



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