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Purdue Center for Economic Education

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In Memorium

We are saddened by the recent loss of two individuals who were important to the PCEE and the economic education community for many years.

Mary E. Sturgeon (1952-2017) passed away on August 13.  Mary was very special to us because she was a longtime Teacher Advocate at our Center, along with her colleague, Callie Marksbary. 

Years ago, Mary came to a Saturday morning Classroom Mini-Economy workshop at Purdue while an elementary school teacher in Lafayette.  She immediately started using that innovative form of economics instruction, and never looked back, implementing many other economic education programs with her children over the years.  She was also a contributing author to the popular curriculum, Teaching Economics Using Children’s Literature, still used today by many teachers in Indiana and nationally. 

As a PCEE Teacher Advocate, Mary helped lead countless economic education training programs.  She was tireless in her belief and support of our programs.  She truly left a mark on the lives of many teachers and students.  She will be missed by all who knew her.

Janet Lee Broyles (1956-2017) passed away on August 6.  Janet was a member of the PCEE's Advisory Board from 2009-2016. A respected local business leader and active member of the Association of Women Business Owners, she generously donated time and knowledge to the PCEE as a member of our Advisory Board .  She was a loyal supporter of the Center, and always willing to share her insights and offer advice.  We are grateful for Janet's years of service to our Center.  She will be missed.

Purdue’s Classroom Business Enterprise Program Workshop Offered to Indianapolis Area Teachers

Recognizing the need for expanded entrepreneurial education throughout the state, the PCEE, in conjunction with the Indiana Council for Economic Education, is making the popular Classroom Business Enterprise program available to teachers beyond their traditional eight county service area.  For 2017, a teacher workshop is being offered at the Marion County Purdue Extension Offices at the Indiana State Fairgrounds on October 4, in addition to a September 27th program at Purdue's West Lafayette campus.

Through teacher training and support, the program allows teachers in elementary and middle schools to incorporate applied business experiences in their current classroom curriculum, giving their students the opportunity to learn important economic skills. Workshop participants receive expert instruction from Purdue economic educators and practicing teachers who've run a classroom business, curriculum materials, and financial support for business start-up costs and to pay for their substitute teacher while attending the workshop.  Teachers also receive ongoing support after the workshop via a private on-line social network which allows teachers to ask questions, share ideas, and post success stories.  There is no charge for teachers to attend the workshop, but advance registration is required.  For more information, visit the CBE web page, contact the PCEE at pcee@purdue.edu, or call 765-494-7336.

PCEE Affiliated Teachers Recognized for their Achievements

Several teachers affiliated with the PCEE were recognized on June 29th at the $mart Indiana Economic Education and Financial Literacy Conference in Indianapolis.  The Olin Davis Awards for Exemplary Teaching of Economics is given annually to teachers who demonstrate outstanding and creative economic education projects.  This year, the state winner of the Olin Davis Award (elementary school level) was Justine Skillman of the Hasten Hebrew Academy in Indianapolis.  Justine is a teacher participant in the PCEE's Classroom Business Enterprise (CBE) program.  Barbara Tilley, Mintonye Elementary School, Lafayette, was a finalist for the award.  Barb is also a CBE teacher participant, and serves on the PCEE's Educator Advisory Committee.  The PCEE's Teacher Advocate at the Secondary Level, Emily Vanderwall, Lafayette Christian School, Lafayette, was also a finalist along with her colleagues Michelle Tuinstra and Kim Plantenga. Emily is also a member of the PCEE's Educator Advisory Committee, and Michelle a CBE teacher participant.  We are very proud of these outstanding teachers who are so dedicated to economic education, and to helping their students learn about economics in fun and creative ways.  To see the full list of statewide Olin Davis Award winners, visit http://www.econed-in.org/.

Tilley Skillman

LCS Teachers

PCEE Mini-Grants Available for 2017-18

The Purdue Center for Economic Education is again offering mini-grants in economics for the 2017-18 school year.  PCEE mini-grants are competitive and open to all accredited public and private K-12 schools in Northwest Indiana, including Marion county.  Grants are for a maximum of $800 per school, and the application deadline is in October of each year.

Grants must be used to support the teaching of economics (including entrepreneurship and personal finance) in the K-12 school curriculum.  The PCEE encourages teachers to use the grants to promote effective, creative, and motivating curriculum projects in their classrooms.

PCEE Mini-Grant Recipients for the 2016-17 school year were:

  • Emily Vanderwall, Lafayette Christian School, for the project “Lafayette Christian School’s Indiana Career Expo.”
  • Sherry Risley, North White Junior/Senior High School, for “Learning Economics in the Life Skills Program.”
  • Traci Blanco, Kankakee Valley High School, for “How to Start a Business.”

 Mini-grant applications for 2017-18 are due by October 11, 2017.  Visit the Mini-Grants page for more information and the application.

Purdue’s Classroom Business Enterprise program celebrates entrepreneurial efforts of Indiana students

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Students from Indiana elementary and middle schools set up shop at Purdue to demonstrate how they have learned to harness economic skills and innovation to create a successful business at the Classroom Business Enterprise (CBE) Showcase at Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management on April 12.

The event, which was free and open to the public, recognized teachers and young entrepreneurs from the areas of Indianapolis, South Bend, Kokomo, and Lafayette who have participated in the Classroom Business Enterprise (CBE) program throughout the school year. Students displayed their products and shared information about the process of starting their business, including designing, producing, marketing, and selling their goods. Business experts from Purdue and local corporations visited the students' displays and offered constructive feedback.

The Purdue Center for Economic Education (PCEE), a national leader in economic literacy, administers the CBE program, with the current year’s program receiving significant financial support from The Lafayette Life Foundation.

“Our current economic climate in Indiana and its focus on entrepreneurship and innovation makes programs like CBE even more important for young Hoosiers and our communities,” says David Perkis, PCEE director. “Indiana Secretary of Commerce Jim Schellinger has consistently emphasized the importance of entrepreneurship in keeping our bright students working in the state. CBE and other programs like it help empower students to develop an entrepreneurial mindset early.”

Through teacher training and support, the program allows teachers in elementary and middle schools to incorporate applied business experience in their current classroom curriculum, giving their students the opportunity to learn important economic skills. Both the start-up funds provided to students and the profits they earn are in real dollars, making it a true entrepreneurial learning experience.

“Often, economic and entrepreneurial education isn’t something we think about until students reach high school,” Perkis says. “However, research and practice have shown that teaching economic decision-making at an early age alongside language and mathematical skills is essential for helping our students to retain these lessons long term.

“Introducing economic ideas during a student’s elementary years has the added benefit of allowing teachers to tie these lessons into other academic standards like reading, social studies and STEM areas, giving students a more holistic view of how our economy works. While many of our teachers have started businesses focused on STEM applications, we plan to offer formal STEM training as part of the CBE program next year.”

In addition to highlighting the achievements of CBE teachers and students, the PCEE also celebrated its 50th anniversary at Purdue and recognized the achievements of its teacher advocate, Gina Boyd, who recently won a national award for excellence in the teaching of economics at the elementary school level.

For information on participating in a future CBE program, contact the PCEE at pcee@purdue.edu.

Source: David Perkis, 765-496-2596, perkis@purdue.edu

Young students take entrepreneurial lead in Classroom Business Enterprise

Mintonye Elementary students in Lafayette, Indiana, are learning firsthand how to harness economic skills and innovation to create a successful business through the hands-on Classroom Business Enterprise (CBE) program. Throughout the school year, Barbara Tilley’s third-grade students have worked together to plan, produce and sell two pioneering and earth-friendly products. Their hard work will be featured at the CBE Showcase on Purdue’s campus on April 12.

“For me, the primary value in CBE is that my students are learning life-skills in a way that they’ll remember for their whole lives,” Tilley says. “My students are learning to recognize and define problems in their daily environment, strategically develop solutions to them and work cooperatively as a team to make meaningful decisions and bring their ideas to life. Their work is making a difference in ways they can see and touch and I’m confident they won’t soon forget this experience.”

The Classroom Business Enterprise program is administered by the Purdue Center for Economic Education (PCEE), a national leader in economic literacy. Through teacher training and resource support, CBE allows elementary and middle school teachers to incorporate applied business experience in their current classroom curriculum, giving their students the opportunity to learn important economic skills.

“Often, economic education isn’t something we think about until students reach high school,” says Prof. Dave Perkis, PCEE director. “However, research and practice have shown that teaching economic decision-making at an early age alongside language and mathematical skills is essential for helping our students to retain these lessons long term. Introducing economic ideas during a student’s elementary years has the added benefit of allowing teachers to tie these lessons into other academic standards like reading, social studies, and STEM areas, giving students a more holistic view of how our economy works.”

This is Tilley’s second year implementing CBE in her classroom. Both years, her third-grade classes have identified problems in their school connected to environmental and sustainability concerns. A recent article in Bizvoice, the business magazine of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, highlighted her paper production business started by last year’s class. (See photo above right.)

“My students looked around and saw that a little bit of paper waste at our school an extra copy here or there quickly adds up,” Tilley says. They developed a plan to repurpose paper that would otherwise be wasted by shredding it and pressing it into custom stationery, which they then packaged, marketed, and sold for real money. With our profits, they chose to make donations to support ecological preservation efforts in the rain forest and on Mt. Everest! They learned that even at their young age, they are valuable citizens and what they do and how they interact with the world around them can have a big impact.”

If you would like to sponsor the Classroom Business Enterprise, please visit the PCEE donation page or contact the director of PCEE, David Perkis, at perkis@purdue.edu or (765) 496-2596.


PCEE's Teacher Advocate, Gina Boyd, Wins National Award

Congratulations to the Purdue Center for Economic Education's teacher advocate, Mrs. Gina Boyd, on her selection as a recipient of the prestigious Council of Economic Education's John Morton Excellence in the Teaching of Economics Award at the elementary school level.

This national award recognizes Mrs. Boyd for her excellent service in providing after-school teacher workshops for the PCEE, and exemplifying the importance of economic and financial education to the future success of young students.  She received the award at the 55th Annual Financial Literacy and Economic Education Conference in Phoenix, Arizona, in October 2016.

Mrs. Boyd is a 4th and 5th grade high ability teacher at Mayflower Mill Elementary School in Lafayette, Indiana.  In addition to facilitating workshops for the PCEE in which she demonstrates to other teachers how to incorporate economic education into their own elementary school classrooms, she also serves on the Elementary Educator Advisory Committee to the PCEE.