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Dickinson Independent School District
Reality Town® Program Teaches the Financial Lessons of Life to DHS Students
News Release
Friday, October 08, 2010

Ninth graders at Dickinson High School are excited to be participating in the state’s first ever Reality Town® simulation from 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. October 13. This one-day event, funded by a grant from the Dickinson ISD Education Foundation, will teach the students the financial realities of adulthood as they apply for jobs and take on families. They will learn just how difficult it is to juggle their monthly budget as they purchase a car, secure housing, pay for childcare, and a myriad of other monthly expenditures. Through this fun, hands-on experience, students learn the value of a dollar, learn to plan for their futures, and gain a greater appreciation for the financial pressures faced by their parents.

Imagine the excitement of 600 ninth grade students with checkbooks in hand, and lots of money to spend. No, it is not back-to-school shopping, it is Reality Town® at Dickinson High School.  Reality Town® is a schools-to-careers program designed to educate students on the financial responsibilities of adulthood and illustrate the link between today’s educational opportunities and tomorrow’s career choices.

In the past few weeks, students have learned how to balance a checkbook, write a resume, and apply for a job based on their GPA and other scores. The GPA/ score requirement illustrates to students the need to apply themselves in school now so that they have options down the road. As one educator stated, “you can’t get into med school with a 2.0 GPA, it just doesn’t work that way.” Students will be randomly assigned an imaginary family, a spouse and one, two or three children. Armed with their monthly paycheck, students face a myriad of 22 businesses, staffed by local business professionals and parents, including housing, transportation, clothing, entertainment, and child care, with which to provide for their families needs and wants during the 1 ½ hour simulation.

As students make purchases at the various businesses, they quickly learn that the paycheck that they were so excited to get just does not stretch as far as they first thought. One Reality Town® student commented, “After all those monthly expenses, I see why my parents are less eager to support my every whimsical expenditure.” The Reality Town® experience also encourages better school performance and goal setting. Another student stated, “You really motivated us kids to realize more about the real world and how important it is to work hard and get good grades. Most of us are starting to really care about it. It’s got me thinking now on what I need to do to be successful.”

For additional program information visit our website at and our YouTube channel for a closer look at Reality Town® in action @


Reality Town® is a licensed schools-to-careers curriculum developed by Jane Parker, a CTE educator and is coordinated by the school.  Reality Town® has been experienced by over 175,000 students nationwide and is making its Texas debut at Dickinson High School.

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