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Students’ Success in Stock Market Game Leads to Award for Proviso West Teacher

January 18, 2013 05:00 PM
Hillside, IL...Stocks, corporations and entrepreneurs are among the English words that students in Karen Sassetti’s English as a Second Language, or ESL, class at Proviso West High School have been learning recently.
Last year, that led to a second-place finish among suburban high schools in Econ Illinois’ Stock Market Game Program for the Proviso West team. Ms. Sassetti, who formerly taught business education at Proviso West, was honored last semester with a 3M Star in the Classroom Award. She received a certificate from the Illinois General Assembly and the Illinois House of Representatives in recognition of her work in promoting economics among youth.

"My students know these companies, and they have a good feeling on which companies will do well," said Ms. Sassetti, who currently has a team in first place in the division again this school year. "I’m amazed at the portfolios they put together."

Sassetti said that she encourages her ESL students to play the game as a good way to learn English vocabulary. In the contest, they are given $100,000 in play money to "invest" in the stock market. The students then do their research on the companies in which to invest, learning about the companies, their histories and their founders.

"We spend a lot of time on research," Ms. Sassetti said. "We come up with diversified portfolios. We buy, sell, and trade. The students do know what a corporation is. We do a lot of work on brainstorming what companies will do well."

The students then select the companies in which they will invest their play money, choosing between five and ten companies. Ms. Sassetti said that she then signs off on the portfolios, on which the students check in on periodically during the school year.

Dr. Roudell Kirkwood, principal at Proviso West High School, said Ms. Sassetti has accepted the challenge of doing well in the Stock Market Game as well as continuing to work with her students to improve in it.

"She has been working with her students to not only learn the Stock Market Game, but to be successful inside and outside of the classroom," he said.

Ms. Sassetti said that the students are learning much in English about how business works and good practices with money and investments.

"I want them to get a good feel for American corporations," she said. "They really enjoy it. They’re learning all sorts of vocabulary."

Dr. Nettie Collins-Hart, superintendent of District 209, stated that Ms. Sassetti's project is an example of the creative methods that teachers might use in reaching their students and providing relevance to the curriculum.

"Creativity is key in reaching students in today’s world," Dr. Collins-Hart said. "Ms. Sassetti is setting a fine example of finding different ways to reach her students, and the success that they have had in the Stock Market Game shows that the creative teaching methods are working in achieving that goal."


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