Financial Literacy at The Bank of Tioga

Improving financial literacy is extremely important at The Bank of Tioga. Our mission is to collaborate with school districts and promote financial literacy, providing programs to students in grades K-12 with the knowledge to make sound financial decisions. 

In the United States today, families are faced with critical financial decisions now more than ever. We serve as a resource to help families handle decisions concerning the economy, education and most importantly, personal finance with expertise. We are taking a long-term approach to solve financial pain while helping create a more financially savvy future generation.

Joy Sparks currently serves as Financial Literacy Coordinator with The Bank of Tioga. Below are some of the ways we are involved in our community: 

DC Branch

On January 24, 2018, the first in-school savings bank in the state of North Dakota opened at the Divide County Elementary School. The Bank of Tioga’s DC Branch will serve students in kindergarten through sixth grade. At this branch, students can begin saving for their long-term and short-term goals. The DC Branch “hires” 4 student bankers to complete the transactions with the help of The Bank of Tioga staff. The Pirate Branch at Central Elementary plans to open in the fall 2021. Read more about this project here.

Real World Camp

At Real World Camp, 9th graders learn practical money skills while enjoying a fun day of activities. Five interactive morning sessions give students the financial skills they will need, then after lunch, they play a role-playing game of an adult with a job, a family and a budget in the Real World City. The Real World City is made up of businesses and organizations that set up shop to serve the students in their new adult roles as they confront real-life scenarios with visits to the shops as they try to stay in their family’s budget. The 2021 event will be held virtually with plans to return to the in person model which allows students to interact face to face with area professionals.

Money Mammals

Tioga, Ray, Divide County and Powers Lake kindergarten classes are learning from the Money Mammals how to save, share and spend smart. This class includes a lesson and a piggy bank for the students to save at home.


The Choices program is designed to help students make positive choices that will increase their career and life opportunities. Eighth graders from Tioga, Ray, Divide County and Powers Lake schools learn in an interactive decision-making workshop focused on keeping teens in school, motivating them toward their education and future and introducing them to practical skills to help them succeed.

Junior Achievement

Volunteers in Tioga, Ray and Crosby join together to bring Junior Achievement to students in kindergarten to 6th grade at Ray Elementary, Tioga’s Central Elementary, and Divide County Elementary. Junior Achievement is the nation's largest organization dedicated to giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their futures and make smart academic and economic choices.

Piggy Bank Pageant

Third graders in Tioga, Ray, Divide County and Powers Lake participate in a Piggy Bank Pageant in the spring. Students learn the power of saving and get to design their own personal bank. The winning designs will be shown at The Bank of Tioga and will get a cash prize to start their savings. 

Essay Contest

The Bank of Tioga is sponsoring the North Dakota Money $mart Teen Essay Contest. Students in grades 9-12 may enter the contest by answering the question below. One student will be named Money $mart Teen and will receive $100. The second place winner will be awarded $50 and the third place winner will receive $25.  

Money $mart Teen Essay Question: Do you think student loan debt should be forgiven? If so, to what degree or in what circumstances? What do you believe will be the effect on the economy if your suggestion is implemented? 

Meme Contest

The Bank of Tioga is sponsoring the North Dakota Money $mart Meme Contest. Students in grades 6-8 may enter the contest by submitting their best original money meme about one of these topics: wants vs. needs or saving money. One student will be named Money $mart Meme Teen and will receive $75. The second place winner will be awarded $50 and the third place winner will receive $25.  

Classroom Visits

Joy and the staff at The Bank of Tioga locations spend time in area classrooms to teach a variety of lessons in financial literacy. Reading books to elementary student, giving high school independent living students a lesson on the inner workings of a bank, teaching math students the power of compound interest. All of these topics and many more are shared each year.

For more information about these financial activities and more, contact Joy Sparks, The Bank of Tioga at 701.664.3388.