Mission 2030 Guest Post: Gary Wroblewski Takes His District from Personal Finance Fridays to Personal Finance Everyday
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
Gary Wroblewski is a passionate administrator at Wayne County Schools in Wayne, West Virginia. The district's 3 high schools are the recipients of the 25th-27th NGPF Gold Standard Challenge grants for implementing a graduation requirement for all students to learn imperative personal financial knowledge. Here is Gary in his own words describing the district’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?
The discussion regarding making personal finance a graduation requirement has occurred over a three-year period. District Leadership and staff recognized that personal finance was a serious need in the district. In year two, the Center for Consumer Law and Education became a partner with the district and supported the efforts to train staff and provide materials to assist in personal finance instruction.
Throughout the 2019-2020 school year, Wayne County Schools began teaching personal finance in its Civics classes. By the end of this year, students and teachers provided positive feedback about the experiences they were having in their classrooms. The District commitment to a personal finance graduation requirement was solidified in February 2020 when the Board of Education revised its graduation policy to require the completion of a personal finance class by all Wayne County graduates.
What challenges did you encounter in your efforts to make personal finance a graduation requirement, and what solutions did you find for these challenges?
The challenges that we encountered were the commitment of the district to provide the necessary staffing to add a graduation requirement to the district's standards. These fears were minimized by the introduction of “personal finance Fridays” in the district’s existing Civics courses. While staffing and funding have been a concern, the district recognizes that a personal finance graduation requirement is a moral imperative and they are committed to providing the necessary resources for the courses.
What/who were the "catalysts for change" that allowed your efforts to be successful?
Social Studies teachers in the district's three high schools who sought to improve skills in personal finance were a major factor in the implementation of the personal finance requirement. Additionally, district leadership recognized the need for a personal finance credit and initiated a partnership with the Center for Consumer Law and Education for assistance in implementing the requirement.