Richardson ISD plans to partner with the Credit Union of Texas to open a student-run bank at Berkner High School at the start of the 2023-24 school year.

The RISD board of trustees unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding during a March 9 meeting in order to set up the partnership with the Credit Union of Texas, which will establish what district officials call a SMART bank branch. The new location, which will be open to the public, would be the first SMART bank in Dallas County, with similar banks at Allen High School and Little Elm High School.

“I am very passionate about this project and providing real world opportunities for our students to help develop and grow graduate-profile skills,” Superintendent Tabitha Branum said at the meeting.

Students will operate the bank in a variety of roles, including as tellers and branch managers. Operating the program would provide students with real-world work experience while developing financial skills outside of the classroom, according to Credit Union officials. One of the benefits officials mentioned would be provide RISD students participating in the program with lessons in financial literacy. Lessons taught through the partnership include hands-on banking experience, creating a budget, making savings plans, balancing a checkbook, and understanding of credit and loans.

Each student who completes a one-year program will also receive a $1,000 scholarship from CUTX.

The bank will be situated at the northeast corner of Berkner High School, which is located at 1600 E. Spring Valley Road, near the STEM Academy and South Yale Boulevard.

Construction on the bank is scheduled to begin during the spring of 2023, with student applications being accepted and curriculum developed throughout the summer. The bank is expected to be open in August, while ongoing program implementation and evaluation is expected to last throughout the upcoming school year.

District officials said the use of the SMART bank aligns with several goals of the RISD graduate profile: teaching financial literacy, critical thinking/problem solving skills, real world connections, effective communication and emotional intelligence. The district’s graduate profile, which was adopted by the board in 2022, is a document that includes academic, personal and relationship goals for all RISD students.