Dec 14, 2021

Mission 2030 Guest Post: Amy Griffin's School is the First School in Northeast Montana to Have a Personal Finance Requirement

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 Today's Guest Author

Amy Griffin is an educator at Westby High School in Westby, Montana. Their school is the 153rd recipient of the Gold Standard Challenge grant. Here is Amy describing Westby’s journey to the Gold Standard.

Describe a rough timeline for how you and/or your colleagues were able to advocate for personal finance to become a graduation requirement in your school/district. How long did it take? What were the major progress milestones?

I originally broached the subject last spring and got approval to present to the board in May. I presented to them using the NGPF presentation, with a few edits. I was a bit surprised when they tabled the idea at first. However, I found that after some discussion (to which I was not privy), they passed the resolution during a July meeting. I don't believe it was too difficult of a decision as most students are encouraged to take Personal Finance already. Our school counselor, who does the scheduling, is a firm believer that everyone needs this knowledge.

What challenges did you encounter in your efforts to make personal finance a graduation requirement, and what solutions did you find for these challenges?

I didn't have many challenges. Our school counselor really believes in it, but was not too happy about the scheduling challenge it will present for her. We need more teachers and having to make sure that every student takes my Personal Finance class might be tough, but she was for it on principle. Honestly, I feel like I got pretty good support from my district.

What/who were the "catalysts for change" that allowed your efforts to be successful?

I think they liked the idea of our school being a leader in our area. We will be the first, I believe in Northeast Montana to make it a requirement. Almost all of the school board members are farmers, so they know the necessity of financial planning. I also believe that Tony Holecek, our then superintendent, really helped. He believed in it and had great influence.

About the Author

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