Juliana James

Juliana James teaches first through sixth grade at St. Anthony Park School in St. Paul. After 32 years of teaching, she’s had the opportunity to work with students from many different walks of life. “I’ve always taught in an urban setting. Some of the schools were in high levels of poverty and some were more affluent. I’ve really enjoyed the variety and enrichment of all of those experiences,” James explains.

As James finishes her final year of teaching before entering retirement, she reflects on the role Junior Achievement has had in her teaching career. “For 15 years we had JA. We couldn’t wait until spring when we did JA and the volunteer visits would start. The kids loved it,” James said.

James teaches Social Studies at St. Anthony Park School. She was looking for curriculum that would not only comply with State Economics Standards but that would be fun for the students and fairly simple to incorporate into the classroom. She thought of JA.

“There’s really no good option for Economics curriculum approved by the district besides Junior Achievement. JA makes it so easy to work into the classroom and the kids loved the lessons. JA brings things to life for the kids through games, activities, posters and volunteer visits.”

James is also an advocate for financial literacy education. She believes that society as a whole needs our children to understand concepts like risk, supply and demand, and managing their finances.

“Financial literacy is a huge benefit to society and the economy. It can harm society if kids aren’t getting a solid foundation on how to manage their future finances. The kids learn these concepts from JA in school and bring it home to their parents so they can learn from it as well. It has a big impact and at the same time it’s fun!”

James’ students researched child entrepreneurs after being inspired by the JA lessons.  They also started dreaming up what businesses they could create. This exercise inspired the students to believe in themselves and what they’re capable of accomplishing.

“I think if more teachers knew that JA was an option, they would be using it in their classrooms. When I was able to bring JA into our school I was thrilled! Now these kids will benefit from JA year after year. They are growing up in a world where changes happen very fast. If they have a basic business understanding when they enter the real world they are so much more likely to succeed.”