August 6, 2014 Edition

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WRHS business teacher
gets in-depth view of
New York Stock Exchange

WRHS business education teacher Mary Smith (right) watches direct market makers buy and sell stocks on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

John Bland

When Mary Smith teaches her Investments and Securities and other business classes this year at Walnut Ridge High School, she’ll be sharing firsthand experiences of her five days spent at the center of the financial marketplace.

Smith is one of only 40 teachers from across the United States who was awarded a fellowship to participate in the New York Stock Exchange Teachers’ Graduate Workshop. Over 500 teachers applied for the program, and Smith was the only one selected from Arkansas.

The program was held July 7-11 in New York City. “This is a graduate class that is very rigorous, but they did take us on two field trips,” Smith said. “We toured the Museum of American Finance and the 911 Memorial Museum.”

Participants spent a lot of time of the floor of the NYSE with the floor brokers and designated market makers as they made trades. Smith said they were also allowed to go in small groups to the famous trading platform.

The graduate program helps teachers teach their students about the financial marketplace and its importance in their lives and the global economy. The program also provides teachers with a thorough understanding of the stock exchange and how it works so they can share that understanding, along with support materials, in the classroom.

Workshop participants interacted with trading professionals on the NYSE iconic trading floor. Smith met Kenny Polcari, a veteran equities trader who appears on several television programs and networks, such as Bloomberg, CNBC, CNN, ABC and Fox.

The teachers also heard lectures and had discussion sessions with the NYSE staff and participated in hands-on activities. Program topics ranged from market regulations to careers in the securities industry.

The NYSE Teachers’ Graduate Workshop awards fellowships to defray travel expenses so that high-performing teachers can attend the professional development workshop.

“Criteria for the award included describing my current teaching responsibilities and how information provided at the Teachers’ Workshop will be relevant to my teaching,” Smith said. “I also have to complete an essay assignment describing in detail and providing examples of how I intend to integrate these new materials into my Investments and Securities classroom curriculum.

“I look forward to sharing these resources with my students in the fall.” Smith added, “It was an experience I wouldn't ‘trade!’”

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