Mission 2030 Guest Post: Donna Rindler knows personal finance will impact students' lives for years to come
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
Donna Rindler is an educator at St. Henry Schools in St. Henry, Ohio. Her school is the 135th recipient of the NGPF Gold Standard Challenge grant. Here is Donna describing St. Henry’s path 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?
The timeline was roughly two years. I spoke with our previous counselor, Betsy, on a few occasions and discussed how little students knew about personal finance. As we all know, discussions about finances are not popular dinner table talk. Betsy had worked in the banking industry for several years before teaching, then became a counselor and saw the impact personal finance instruction could have on our students' futures.
Betsy and our principal, Eric Rosenbeck, also spoke about the importance of personal finance, and how they did not think the state's requirement was enough to align with what our students needed for their futures. As a result, they made it a local graduation requirement for St. Henry High School. The Board of Education and Superintendent were in agreement on the need for Personal Finance as a class for graduation due to this subject matter impacting every student in our school beyond graduation.
What challenges did you encounter in your efforts to make personal finance a graduation requirement, and what solutions did you find for these challenges?
We honestly did not find any challenges in making personal finance a graduation requirement. All stakeholders understood the importance of this decision ,which made it easy for us to proceed with this class as a graduation requirement.
What/who were the "catalysts for change" that allowed your efforts to be successful?
The school guidance counselor was the key driver for this class to become a graduation requirement. Betsy understood the importance of students learning about their personal finances and how this could impact all students’ success in life moving forward. Beyond this, the high school principal and superintendent were in agreement on the decision(s) being made concerning Personal Finance as a graduation requirement.
Many studies, ample research, and analysis of Americans struggling with personal finance(s) all informed the decision that all St. Henry High School students should have exposure to this course. Teaching this topic helps students with loans, credit cards, credit card debt, personal spending, saving... and the list goes on and on. Everything discussed in Personal Finance will impact students' lives and their well-being for years to come.