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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University May 12, 2008 | Vol. 37 No. 34
Stocks in the Future Graduates 110 Baltimore Middle-School Students

Stocks in the Future, a program that teaches middle-school kids about investing while giving them extra incentive to do well in school, is holding graduation ceremonies this spring for 110 students at four Baltimore-area schools.

The SIF program, which allows previously underperforming students with good attendance and good grades to buy and own real stocks, will honor graduating eighth-graders at Barclay and Francis Scott Key middle schools in Baltimore City and Deep Creek and Dundalk middle schools in Baltimore County.

"This is a significant year for us," said SIF executive director Anne Swain of the Center for Social Organization of Schools at Johns Hopkins. "Not only are we graduating our largest class ever, our incentives for students are working."

A recent assessment by researchers at Johns Hopkins demonstrated the positive impact of SIF on student achievement. Last year's seventh-graders who took part in the program scored 31 percent higher on the Hopkins Short Achievement Test, which includes reading comprehension, vocabulary and mathematics, than did students in a control group, and sixth-grade participants' scores were 18 percent higher.

"The excitement and unique nature of our efforts have drawn notice, and we're now expanding SIF into at least two to four additional schools in the coming academic year," Swain said.

The scripted curriculum for SIF, developed at CSOS, teaches strategies for earning, saving and investing money. By attending school regularly and improving their grades, students earn "SIF Dollars" that enable them to buy publicly traded stocks, which they receive when they graduate from high school and turn 18.

"These students were identified as needing incentives to improve school performance," said Patricia Bernstein, the program's founder and original funder. "Now we have data and graduates that show it really works. We are getting additional sponsors joining the effort, and schools are coming to us to participate. We look forward to our future growth."

Founded in 2000 in Baltimore, Stocks in the Future is now in seven schools and serves 400 students in Maryland and the District of Columbia.


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