There’s a trading floor in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighbourhood of Brooklyn, and although no real trades go through the room, it’s just as high-tech and impressive.
The “floor” in question is actually a classroom in the Brooklyn Academy of Global Finance high school, equipped with a real-time stock ticker, touchscreen LCD monitors to track stocks and computer modules to help students acclimate to the business and finance-focused curriculum of the school.
“Our real mission and vision is to provide students with a global perspective,” said the schools’ principal Kavita Gupta. And “the trading room floor is a resource to provide foundational skills in finance.”
The academy’s special focus on business requires that students take classes like Introduction to Finance, Entrepreneurship and Accounting, and participate in an internship program. Events like a career day with Deloitte and a speakers’ series with guests from the business profession are also the norm at the academy. The school is currently in its third year and plans on graduating its first cohort of seniors next year.
The floor was completed in early May, so the gadgets and computers in the room aren’t part of concrete lesson plans, but teachers will be working on new classes that can utilise the technology in the classroom over the summer so students can get the full experience, Gupta said.
The Brooklyn Academy of Global Finance, a public school, began 3 years ago with the goal of teaching students a business-focused curriculum so they may be better prepared for a globalizing world.
The entrance to the trading floor room is flanked by large windows, so you can appreciate the vast and sunlit room from the outside.
A commemorative plaque is at the entrance of the room. The trading floor was built from a $500,000 grant from Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and took 1.5 years to complete.
Clocks set to times around the world flank the wall, and a digital real-time ticker with the 30 stocks of the Dow Jones Industrial Average flashes across half the room.
Two sets of four touchscreen LCD monitors allow students to check stocks on different indexes, currency exchange rates and commodities.
Once you pick a stock/commodity/currency, a chart shows the performance in top right screen, and recent news on the topic shows up on the bottom right. Here, finance teacher Joanna Sanchez demonstrates how to use the LCD monitors.
Computer modules are set up in pentagon-shaped tables around the room, allowing students use computer programs as part of their lessons.
LaShawn Sylvester, 16, and Jeff Garraway, 15, are juniors in Ms. Sanchez's accounting class. They're also part of C.A.S.H., a specialised college preparatory program for African-American students, sponsored by the National Black MBA Association.
LaShawn and Jeff are both participating in a stock market simulation game through C.A.S.H., where the students get a virtual $1 million to invest in a portfolio of personal stock picks. LaShawn said she uses the ticker in the new trading floor room to check stocks and buy ones she sees are on the uptick.
LaShawn's portfolio includes companies like Amazon, Disney, Microsoft and United Technologies. She said she recently bought Facebook but sold off after the stock started falling.
Last Friday, students in accounting class were playing Monopoly, which teaches the students how to track investments.
Finance and accounting terms dot the walls on the classroom side of the trading floor. Here's a neat chart on calculating liabilities.
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