Mission 2030 Guest Post: Mary Gibb's School Motto is "Change is Good!"

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Dec 28, 2021
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Advocacy
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

Mary Gibb is an educator at St. Edmond Catholic School in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Their school is the 156th recipient of the Gold Standard Challenge grant. Here is Mary describing’s St. Edmond’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?

Prior to Jan. 2019, the building principal alerted the staff of the possible state requirement to add personal finance to the curriculum. She thought that most of this class would be taught in our economics class for juniors and seniors but as it was discovered, that was not the case. She also presented it to the school board who thought it should be a stand-alone course.

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 would say the biggest challenges we encountered were with our students, parents, and finding a teacher. The students were upset they had to have another required graduation credit. The parents didn't feel their kids needed it either. Finding the teacher actually ended up being the easiest challenge to meet. It took about a year to publicize the fact this was going to happen then since then, we have had no issues. We promoted it in a positive way and found a positive teacher to teach it and he loves the curriculum that is provided by you.

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

I would say the administration, the school board and the students themselves are the "catalysts for change" with their positive attitudes. Our motto here is - change is good!

Which stakeholders (students, parents, admin, business leaders, school board, etc) were helpful partners in your quest to make the graduation requirement happen?

I would say our school board was the most helpful. They all have their own kids that would have to take it so by them approving it and talking positively about the course, it, in turn, had students being ok with taking it as a graduation requirement. The administrative team also was very helpful in getting it pushed through.

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