San Francisco, CA – March 10, 2011 – Going above and beyond in the pursuit of financial literacy, Cleveland Hill High School economics teacher Robert Haley was recognized today by Visa Inc. as national "Innovative Educator" for the month of March. Mr. Haley used the very low ranking Buffalo Bills fans received earlier this year on the leaderboard of Visa Inc.'s free, online personal finance video game, Financial Football, as motivation to introduce his students to the game and propel the Bills to the top of the leaderboard rankings.
The centerpiece of Visa's nationwide educational initiative with the NFL and NFL PLAYERS, Financial Football puts students' fiscal knowledge to the test by combining the structure and rules of the NFL with financial education questions of varying difficulty. To score points, a team needs to answer a series of money management questions correctly. Wrong answers and penalties can cost a team yardage. The free game is available online at www.practicalmoneyskills.com/football. Visa also released the game as a free iPhone app on iTunes, along with an optimized HD iPad version. The Financial Football leaderboard is the ranking of all 32 NFL teams based on the number of fans who have successfully played the game online.
"We couldn't do anything about the Bills' standing in the NFL, but we could do something about our 27th ranking on the Financial Football leaderboard," said Haley, who has been teaching economics, government and world history for 10 years. "Interactive education is so important, such a huge motivation for financial learning, and Financial Football was a fun way to engage the students in learning how to save money, understand credit cards and use them efficiently," added Haley.
To learn more about how Mr. Haley is helping his students tackle their financial futures, please visit www.practicalmoneyskills.com, the website for Visa's award-winning financial education program, Practical Money Skills for Life.
"For many Americans, particularly young Americans, financial education does not begin at home and so it is critical that dynamic educators like Mr. Haley are on the front lines in the effort to make sure young people understand financial basics," said Jason Alderman, Visa's director of financial education. "Mr. Haley truly shares Visa's longstanding commitment to ensuring that all consumers understand the importance of responsible money management."
The Innovative Educator award is handed out monthly to one or more teachers nationwide who demonstrate a commitment to bringing personal finance education into their classroom. The award is part of Visa's Practical Money Skills for Life program, an educator-developed and educator-approved program that helps students – from preschoolers and elementary school students, to teens and college students – learn the essentials of personal finance.
Created by Visa, this program offers both face-to-face and web-based 'train the trainer' seminars for school districts, colleges and universities. Available in both English and Spanish educators, parents and students can access free educational resources including: useful personal finance information on a variety of topics, lesson plans and games, calculators, research and a monthly newsletter with over 65,000 subscribers. Visa also runs What's My Score (www.whatsmyscore.org), a leading higher education consumer awareness program. This free Web site guides college students through the ABC's of a FICO credit score, from factors that can lower a score to ways to improve it.
As part of its ongoing outreach efforts to promote early and continuous financial education since 2000, Visa has helped to bridge the digital divide by donating computers to high schools around the country and providing schools with the Practical Money Skills for Life curriculum. In addition, Visa has provided teacher training on the program so that educators can maximize the program's many valuable resources and benefits.
Visa is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast, secure and reliable digital currency. Underpinning digital currency is one of the world's most advanced processing networks – VisaNet – that is capable of handling more than 10,000 transactions a second, with fraud protection for consumers and guaranteed payment for merchants. Visa is not a bank, and does not issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers. Visa's innovations, however, enable its financial institution customers to offer consumers more choices: Pay now with debit, ahead of time with prepaid or later with credit products. For more information, visit usa.visa.com/about-visa/our_business.html.