LEAF’s mission is to equip students in grades 6-14 with the most important skills they need to thrive in our global economy: economic and financial literacy.
What is LEAF?
The Learning Economics and Finance Network, Inc. is the largest teacher-led organization in the state that operates in the economic and financial literacy space. It was started in 2014 by a former Wall Street security analyst and an award-winning economics educator.
LEAF’s main priority is to improve the quality of economic and personal finance education in the region through two major initiatives.
Professional development for teachers.
The single best way to improve the quality of economic and personal finance education is to
have skilled teachers at the front of every classroom. And focusing on teachers is critical:
studies have shown that they are the most important in-school variable that determines
LEAF believes professional development should address each teacher’s unique needs, provide
programs that are exciting, intellectually rigorous, and include content that can be immediately
incorporated in the classroom. Seminars should feature some of the best minds in the field that can offer thought-provoking presentations.
With the ultimate goal of improving student outcomes, teacher seminars, workshops and professional learning communities encompass all the components identified by the Massachusetts Department of Education’s criteria for High Quality Professional Development. In addition, programs are designed to address aspects of the MA Model System for Educator Evaluation. This approach coincides with one of LEAF’s founding principles: “Each educator will take a leading role in shaping his or her professional growth and development.”
In order to remain certified, teachers must accumulate 150 Professional Development Points (PDPs) over a 5-year period in their primary license area. On September 30, 2014, LEAF was approved by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (MA DESE) as a Provider of PDPs in the content areas of History/Social Science and Business for the Pre K-12 grade span. LEAF can award these PDPs to workshop participants at no additional cost due to the valuable support provided by our sponsors listed in the program section.
Programs for students.
LEAF programs provide the opportunity to demonstrate academic excellence, take classroom learning to the next level, encourage teamwork, and expose students to career opportunities beyond the typical STEM industries.
With its 2016 debut, the Econ Showdown, featured in our banner, is the only live economic competition for Massachusetts High School students. The full-day event featured fast-paced quiz bowls and a critical thinking problem that required students to act as economic advisors to a specific country and recommend solutions following a real –life real financial crisis.
The U.S. China International Economic Summit (IES) is being offered in partnership with the US China SciTech Education Promotion Association and the International Economic Summit Institute at Boise State University. The IES is an educational simulation connecting global trade to economic development. Its mission is to train our next general of leaders and positively impact the long-term stability and prosperity of the world economy.
LEAF has crafted the most effective and efficient method for elevating economic and financial literacy
We have developed a new a teacher-centric organization that focuses resources on professional development for educators and student programs that emphasize the economic way of thinking. Since our first event in March 2014, our workshops, seminars, and programs have included dozens of teachers and reached over 10,000 students.
Our unique approach will produce engaged, energized educators who will empower their students with the important life skills they need for success. This is the real story behind The LEAF Network: it is a key initiative to improve the economic literacy of the state, the region, and its future generations.