As almost all new teachers can relate to, Janessa Boulay struggled with classroom management her first year of teaching in 2012. The summer between her first and second year, she was determined to find a better way to manage her class. She also had to keep in mind that she needed to make lessons fun and engaging, teach all of the required content, integrate soft skills, keep track of student work and so much more! Overwhelmed by it all, Janessa was introduced to the idea of a classroom economy.
After a year of building out her economy with jobs to help out with everyday classroom tasks, bills like desk rent, positive and negative action items based on behavior, and auctions to reward positive behaviors, she regained control of her class. Not only did her classroom economy create a “buy-in” for students, but she was teaching a skill set she truly believed in, personal finance.
After seeing the immensely positive impact an economy was having on her students financial smarts, Janessa realized the importance of teaching finance to students when they first realized the value of the dollar. So, Janessa teamed up with her husband, Tim, to move her paper economy to the web in order to reach more students and make the economy experience more realistic.
Tim and Janessa spent countless nights and weekends working on the PayGrade platform, and then immediately tested the program in Janessa’s classroom. After many software iterations, they released a platform to the public that focused on teaching kids basic finance while helping teachers manage their classrooms.
By the end of the year, teachers all over Colorado were using PayGrade (formly BoulayBank). Schools were adopting the platform as a school-wide behavior management system and were transforming students into money-smart young adults.
The success of PayGrade is thanks to word of mouth in the teaching community - resulting in thousands of schools using the software around the world.
PayGrade was formerly called BoulayBank. Once the platform started taking off, Janessa and Tim realized that a new name was in order. Most people didn’t know what Boulay meant.
The Name: “PayGrade” is a step within a compensation system that defines the amount of money a person will receive - exactly what students on the software experience.
.io is the most popular technology domain extension and it stands for input/output which is exactly what PayGrade represents: the more input (effort) students give, the more output ($) they will earn throughout the year.
The team at PayGrade hopes that with this software students will be prepared to step into the real-world as prepared individuals with some seriously awesome money smarts.