On an afternoon in late December, fifth-grade students at Fort River Elementary School gather around and write their rent checks.
“Who can remind us what a memo is?” teacher Jonathan Severance asks the class.
It’s not a real check — they’re elementary school students after all — but it looks like one.
Displaying a blank check on the smart board, Severance walks the class through what to put on each line of the mock check as each student follows along, making their check out to “the order of Severance Realty.”
It’s all part of an initiative to give students a taste of the real world and teach them about money.
“A lot of kids graduate from college with these enormous debts,” Severance said. “It’s really hard to work their way out of it. I try to teach some awareness.”
To his point, research shows that as little as 7 percent of high school students can be considered financially literate, according to a 2015 Massachusetts report on financial literacy, and that Massachusetts is one of 12 states across the country that does not require schools to offer financial education courses to students.