Mission 2030 Guest Post: Mark Fiedorczyk of Lenape Valley High School is Blazing a FinLit Trail (Part 2)
Updated (10/27/19): On October 15, 2019, The Board of Education for the Lenape Valley Regional High School District (NJ) approved Mark's proposal. Congratulations Mark on ensuring that all high school students in the district will graduate having taken a one semester personal finance course!
The following post is one in a series of inspiring stories from NGPF's Gold Standard Challenge Grant Program which incentivizes high schools and districts to commit to ALL students taking personal finance courses before graduation. Learn more, and apply for your $2,500 to $30,000 Gold Standard Challenge Grant before the August 31, 2022 deadline here.
About the Author
Mark Fiedorczyk is the Regional Supervisor of Curriculum and Instruction for the Lenape Valley School District and two of its sending districts, Valley Road School in Stanhope N.J. and Netcong Elementary School. Before becoming an administrator Mark taught 7th grade Science for 15 years in the Mount Olive School District. Education was a second career after spending 12 years in the catering business. He is a passionate supporter of NGPF and would like to become an advocacy change agent focusing on encouraging other administrators to become familiar with the extraordinary benefits of teaching students personal finance. Lenape Valley High School was ultimately the second in the nation to receive an NGPF Gold Standard Challenge Grant when Mark and his colleagues persuaded the district to guarantee all high schoolers take personal finance before graduation. Here's Mark in his own words describing the amazing story (part 2 of 3)!
Mark shares an exciting 2nd step in his FinLit Journey in the post below [Read his first post here]
So….the next step in my journey occurred last week when I presented to the Board of Education. Using the School Board Pitch Template [found on Advocacy webpage]. I was able to assemble a general overview of the NGPF mission and curriculum in addition to adding my own personal, local touches. My presentation was focused on highlighting the real world skills that NGPF delivers in their curriculum like W-2’s and W-4’s, understanding paycheck deductions, filling out tax forms, and navigating an online bank account, to name just a few. I had no doubt that the BOE would find these skills beneficial to our students.
I began the presentation with a Kahoot game on taxes. There was an enthusiastic response to the opening, and I began my presentation. There is something special about this initiative that makes talking about it easy. There was no nervousness or awkward silence as I proceeded to share my personal finance journey with the BOE members. A review of the various skills to be taught and the students current lack of exposure, brought nods of acknowledgement. One of the members shared that her eighth grade daughter was enjoying a very positive experience with NGPF at the middle school where we are currently piloting the NGPF curriculum.
I was fortunate to have Dan from NGPF join me for this important milestone. I turned the end of the presentation over to him and he shared his own NGPF journey with the board. He explained the Million Dollar Challenge and shared with the BOE that my application had been the first accepted. We ended on a high note. This was a work session so no action was taken. The following day I received an email from my superintendent requesting a meeting to discuss how to go about requiring personal finance as a graduation requirement and completing our quest for the $10,000. Things are moving quickly and I will continue to share my experience. A special thanks to Dan for making the trip in from NYC. His partnership is greatly appreciated and I am excited to keep the momentum going.