November 15, 2021
By KEITH RYAN CARTWRIGHT
Rutherford County Schools
Rutherford County Schools was one of 11 districts statewide to be recognized by EVERFI for its exemplary commitment to whole-child education.
The 2021 Empowered District seal recognizes RCS for providing students with the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful in the real world, according to information from EVERFI, which read in part, “The thoughtful actions taken by you and your team will have a lifelong impact on your students and their families.”
The online platform provides a series of individualized enrichment activities which align with curriculum and standards for grades K–12.
During the past three years, 16,167 students from Rutherford County have used EVERFI resources, according to a 2020–2021 impact report, including more the 5,200 last school year.
“It is a way for our teachers to be able to bring in real world activities and projects into their classroom,” said Tyra Pilgrim, career and technical education coordinator for RCS, of the free service available for “any teacher in the world to use in their classroom.”
The platform allows students to work at their own pace, which Pilgrim said, “Especially works well in the middle school world because they’re all one-to-one now.”
EVERFI empowers educators with real-world learning through a growing library of more than 30 digital programs focused on health and wellness, personal finance, early learning, diversity and inclusion, and college and career readiness.
The top three programs in Rutherford County were social-emotional learning and financial education, which were each used by more than 2,400 students from 17 schools, along with health and wellness programs utilized in 16 schools.
For instance, the financial education programs begin as early as fourth grade (understanding money for grades 4-6) and continue as part of the curriculum through their senior year of high school (financial literacy for grades 9-12).
A study of 20,000 students taking FutureSmart revealed a meaningful gain of financial knowledge among 90 percent of students, according to the previously mentioned impact report.
“It’s a great tool for our teachers to be able to use to bring (a) real-world aspect into their classroom,” Pilgrim said, “It just comes to life for them.”
Afterward, 91 percent of Rutherford County teachers who used EVERFI agreed with the statement “my students were engaged with the course content,” while 88 percent rated the quality of the content good or very good.
“We are among the top users of the state,” said Pilgrim, who also noted Rutherford County’s stature as the fourth largest district in the state and its continued growth. “Based on our size, that’s pretty awesome. We can always do more and we have been increasing” our annual usage of EVERFI.