Mission 2030 Guest Post: Mark Fiedorczyk of Lenape Valley High School is Blazing a FinLit Trail (Part 1)
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 1 of 3)!
In Mark's own words...
This is my first attempt at blogging, but my involvement with NGPF has helped me embrace many new experiences. It all started with the State of New Jersey requiring middle school students to have coursework in Financial Literacy effective for the 2019-2020 school year. As a Regional Supervisor of Curriculum and Instruction my next thought was “ How will I make this happen?” Relevant curriculum is extremely hard to generate, and even working in collaboration with teachers, “Who would have sufficient background knowledge to keep the content accurate and up to date?” For old dogs like me, the thought of escorting my students through the scary world of finance in the digital age was the stuff of nightmares.
I owe my eternal thanks to one of my middle school math teachers who spotted a free PD on middle school financial literacy sponsored by NGPF. I have been to many boring, irrelevant, and sales focused PD’s, but with no other ideas, we registered. I could not have made a better decision, and without sounding dramatic, it truly changed my life and ignited a passion for personal finance. It was definitely one of the best PD’s I have attended in my 23 years in education. With the training and resources provided, I was able to breathe a huge sigh of relief.
My interest was sparked and I craved info on the high school curriculum offerings. Fast forward to Fin Camp Plus. Three days of intense training in NYC with participants from many states and representative of many backgrounds in personal finance education. We were immersed in interactive activities and engaging discussions. My takeaway, “Our kids need to know this!” “Heck I need to know this!” As an administrator, we sometimes feel removed from seeing the impact we have on individual students. This was an opportunity to impact my students in a positive and life changing way and I became determined to use my position to bring this personal finance curriculum to Lenape Valley High School (LVHS).
Using the semester course curriculum unit plans, I was able to construct an entire semester course and enter it into our digital curriculum mapping program. I joined the FinLit Fanatics Facebook group and became a regular visitor the NGPF website. I learned about Mission 2030 at FinCamp and was further excited to see the Million Dollar Challenge. New Jersey already requires 2.5 credits of Financial Literacy as a graduation requirement which can be fulfilled through a variety of courses which include personal finance. What a gift to update our curriculum with NGPF personal finance. Grants are normally a pain, but the passion overcame me and I dove into the grant application process and worked out an action plan to make the personal finance course a graduation requirement at LVHS.
I am proud and excited to share that my grant application was the first to be accepted in the country. Moving forward, I would like to share my journey towards meeting the grant requirements and obtaining $10,000 for the new personal finance program at LVHS. I have a meeting with my Board Of Education on Tuesday and will be sharing with them all of the great things we can accomplish in personal finance by partnering with NGPF.
Stay tuned! And join me on my journey.
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.