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Pollinate, the Teacher Financial Literacy Project, is an organization dedicated to both improving teachers' own understanding of personal finance issues, and the teaching of financial literacy. The ultimate goal of Pollinate is the creation of a self-sustaining organization that collaboratively spreads financial literacy from teachers to students. This goal will be met primarily through multi-day Workshops; the organization will also have a strong online presence through this website.

Idea behind the Teacher Financial Literacy Project

As part of his doctoral work, Dan Otter participated in the National Writing Project (NWP), one of the longest running, most successful, peer-to-peer professional development institutes in the country. The experience was transformational as he saw first hand the value of allowing educators extended time to engage in deep, collaborative work focused on improving classroom practice, in this case writing instruction. This experience led him to consider how this model could be applied to learning and teaching financial literacy.

Additionally, since 2000 Dan has been operating the nationally recognized 403(b) education and advocacy website 403(b)wise. Dan has also addressed teacher groups across the country on the financial concepts from his website and acclaimed book Teach and Retire Rich, which Vanguard founder John Bogle has praised.

Read more about Dan's research.

Next Steps

Thanks to the generous support of TIAA-CREF and CalSTRS, Pollinate hosted a highly successful pilot workshop on November 22 and 23, 2010 in Sacramento, CA. As this short video details, 16 pre-K-12 teachers spent two days improving their own financial literacy, and collaborating on ways to teach core personal finance concepts to their colleagues, and to their students. Pilot participants will report back in spring 2011 about their efforts to "Pollinate" staff and students with financial knowledge.

We are taking what we learned from this initial workshop and will employ it in future gatherings. As we plan future workshops, we continue to seek support from individuals, educational institutions, and companies and organizations interested in supporting our efforts. For more information, see Get Involved.

Dan Otter, Ph.D., is a teacher, writer (Teach and Retire Rich and The 403(b) Wise Guide), and the operator of several nationally recognized financial literacy websites, including 403(b)wise and Dan has discussed financial literacy issues on National Public Radio and the Bob Brinker Show, and has been interviewed by USA Today, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal.
Support Pollinate, the teacher financial literacy project. Even $5 will help us get the pilot Pollinate program off the ground!
All ideas and content on this site are copyright © 2010 Dan Otter. All rights reserved.