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Biz Kid$

Biz Kid$ is the fun, fast-paced public television series where kids teach kids about money and business. Whether a handbag designer, podcast host, or a dog groomer, the young business owners on the series inspire viewers to turn their passions into profit. Comedy sketches and spoofs of movies make the series a hit with kids and parents alike. Biz Kid$ also shows how to use credit wisely and illustrates the importance of saving, budgeting, investing, and giving back to the community.

From the creators of the Emmy award-winning series Bill Nye the Science Guy comes a fun, fast-paced new series that teaches 9- to 14-year-old kids how to manage their own money. Produced in high-definition, the half-hour weekly series is hosted by a group of biz kids who invite their viewers to become biz kids, too. Every episode introduces several young entrepreneurs and philanthropists who share their success stories. From a skateboard designer to a candy store owner -- they are kids that young viewers can relate to and be inspired by. Season One (26 episodes) was introduced in January 2008; Season Two (13 new episodes) will launch in January 2009.

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At a time when only 10 percent of youth in America are graduating high school with any kind of instruction in personal finance, Biz Kid$ helps kids understand the importance of saving and starting good financial habits early on. In fact, of the many young people who now drop out of college, more than half leave because of bankruptcy -- not bad grades.

The show teaches the fundamentals of saving, budgeting, investing, and giving back to the community, and it does so through clever skits and educational segments. Spoofs on old TV shows and comedy sketches performed by a humorous cast of characters make the series a hit with both kids and parents alike. The King of Ka-Ching, a cheesy lounge singer, and Francine Fairtrade, a world traveler with extensive knowledge of all things exotic and financial, are two of the characters who add to the fun.

Biz Kid$ is produced by Biz Kid$ LLP in association with WXXI Public Broadcasting in Rochester, NY. It is distributed by American Public Television. Production and educational outreach funding is generously provided to Biz Kid$ by a coalition of America’s Credit Unions.

Station Grants Program

The Biz Kid$ National Outreach Campaign is offering grants to public television stations to extend the reach of the series beyond broadcast into the community. Designed and managed by Outreach Extensions, the two-tiered station grants program increases public awareness of the need for financial education in schools, promotes discussion and action, and directly engages classroom teachers (4th to 8th grade). An essential outreach goal is to reach teachers so they will use Biz Kid$, its curriculum and campaign resources, to build their students’ financial literacy and economic education skills. Stations are encouraged to partner with local credit unions to implement their projects. Additional partners include schools and youth-serving organizations. Projects should incorporate the five core episodes and related financial education curriculum (see below).

  • Tier One Grants – up to $7,500 – will extend the reach of the show through production elements such as hour-long town halls that engage teachers and school leaders; panelists will include a credit union representative; clips from Biz Kid$ and local (optional) kid-driven financial projects will be featured. Other ideas include a teleconference to train teachers, or state-wide student and teacher training sessions via a fiber optics network. Add-ons could include Web streaming and extended distribution on a DVD.
  • Tier Two Grants – $4,000 – will directly engage teachers and students in using Biz Kid$ and its financial education curriculum. This could include a pilot project for classrooms, a teacher in-service training (district-wide for 4th through 8th grade teachers, if possible) or a teacher education conference. Projects must document the number of teachers and students reached. Stations will work with local partners to determine the focus and outcomes of their campaigns. Add-ons could include television interstitials or Web-based testimonials featuring kids commenting on what they learned from your project, the show and curriculum.

The grants program provides an opportunity for outreach and development staffs to work together to cultivate relationships with local credit unions. Outreach Extensions will provide stations with key contacts. Credit unions may collaborate with stations on grant activities including providing facilitators to conduct financial education training sessions in classrooms or teacher events.

Financial Education Curriculum

Available in English and Spanish on the series’ Web site, a set of curriculum activities has been created by curriculum developer and former teacher Polly Hire to accompany each of the episodes in Season One; curriculum activities will also support each episode in Season Two. Five curriculum elements for each episode include: Biz Terms, Day One Lesson Plan, Day Two Lesson Plan, Family Activity Sheet (take-home), and a Materials and Equipment List. Five episodes and their curriculum materials have been designated as the outreach project’s core:

  • Episode 104: What Can You Do With Money?
    Decisions, decisions! Join the Biz Kids and you’ll ponder the merits of spending, saving, donating, and investing money. Visit the New York Stock Exchange, get tips from the author of Not Buying It, and learn to avoid compulsive shopping. You can also learn how to create a financial diary and track spending. Meet an ambitious teen who opened a candy store at age 15 and, in the process, fulfilled a dream and revived an ailing business district in her small town.
  • Episode 106: Taking Charge of Your Financial Future
    Join the Biz Kids as they figure out where they want to be financially and make plans on how to get there. You can work on your plans and meet some new kid entrepreneurs, too. Follow along as a Biz Kid sets up his first savings account. We also look at an innovative program that rescues street kids and gets them back into education and business.
  • Episode 110: How To Achieve Your Financial Goals
    Join us and you’ll learn to track your expenses, get control of your spending, and invest what’s left over to reach your financial goals. You’ll see the importance of starting young, while time is on your side. Meet some high school entrepreneurs who started a sports business.
  • Episode 116: Budgeting Basics
    The Biz Kids learn the first rule of money management: you can’t manage what you don’t know. Join the kids and you’ll look at spending and expenses and examine several proven methods on how to gain control of both. You’ll also meet several successful entrepreneurs.
  • Episode 123: Understanding Income and Expenses
    Go with the cash flow. The Biz Kids watch the ebb and flow of income and expenses. Join them and you’ll learn proven methods for getting expenses under control while growing income with new ideas, smarter work habits, and innovation. Meet some entrepreneurs who have seen success with cash flow and more!

Stations are encouraged to focus on these five episodes and related activities for their local grant-funded campaigns.

Web Module

Outreach Extensions will design a Web Module to encourage interactivity for kids and/or teachers. The module will drive traffic to the national Web site and build awareness of Biz Kid$ and its resources. Kids could report on their use of Biz Kid’s resources (e.g., entrepreneurial business ideas) in their classrooms or informal education venues. Teachers and after-school providers could report on their best practices related to use of the show and curriculum. A set of clips – one or two from each of the core episodes (see above) – will form the basis for discussion starters or response questions. Local stations that receive outreach grants will provide a link from their sites to the national site.

Biz Kid$ Web Site

Information on the series as well as resources associated with the national outreach campaign, including the financial education curriculum and educational outreach kits, are available on http://www.bizkids.com. The classroom brochure (see below) will be featured as a downloadable .pdf for teachers. Visitors can sign up for the show’s monthly newsletter, The Vault, which offers ideas on how kids can start their own businesses, plus hints on earning money and tips on making their money grow.

Classroom Brochure

Fun, high impact graphics will attract teachers to use the new Biz Kid$ curriculum materials and resources. Targeting fifth grade teachers, Outreach Extensions will collaborate with Biz Kid$ LLP to design and produce a four-color, eight-panel brochure. The brochure will highlight the financial education content of the show, provide a hands-on classroom activity, and propel teachers and students to use the series Web site. 50,000 copies will be mailed to teachers.

Educational Outreach Kits

Presenting station WXXI is developing two outreach kits – one for training teachers and one for community engagement; each is customizable to fit local needs. The purpose is to introduce Biz Kid$ to new station partners and provide support for adopting Biz Kid$ into financial education programs for kids in school settings as well as in out-of-school informal learning settings.

  • Kit #1: Using Biz Kid$ in the Classroom – Teacher Professional Development
    This kit will be used by organizations to provide teacher professional development. It may be used for training teachers within their schools and districts, professional associations or through conference presentations. The kit will introduce teachers to the resources of Biz Kid$ and give them strategies for using Biz Kid$ in the classroom. It will complement the curriculum and existing resources of the series.
  • Kit #2: Biz Kid$ Community Engagement: Booth Kit
    This kit will provide turn-key ideas to present Biz Kid$ at a walk-up table or booth. Ideas for display, materials and activities to provide at a community festival, or conference will allow organizations such as credit unions and public broadcasting stations to present Biz Kid$ in an informal setting.