Dec 07, 2021

Mission 2030 Guest Post: Huda Ghazal's Willingness to Educate the School's Community Greatly Supported the Graduation Requirement Being Added

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

Huda Ghazal is an educator at Universal School in Bridgeview, Illinois. Their school is the 151st recipient of the Gold Standard Challenge grant. Here is Huda describing Universal’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?

Our school was able to adopt a personal finance requirement by adding it as a graduation requirement roughly over a period of one and a half years after introducing it in 2019. A major milestone was the number of students greatly increased in 2020 taking the course and the positive feedback about the necessity of the course at our school rendered from the surveys distributed to students, staff, and parents proved the pilot class introduced initially was a great success.

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

COVID-19 was a major challenge in offering this class virtually, but NGPF was extremely prepared to facilitate the class in an online environment. Using the Nearpod lessons greatly enhanced the structure and setting up the class in a Google-oriented learning platform made it very easy for students to continue taking the class during the pandemic.

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

Actually, the students themselves were our biggest advocates for wanting this course. They demonstrated repeatedly how important the information they were being taught could support them in their future college choices and careers. Mrs. Ghazal's willingness to educate our school community about the importance of this class to young people also greatly supported adding this class as a graduation requirement. She repeatedly has continued to illustrate the content of this course is vital to students navigating their fiscal futures more responsibly. Universal is dedicated to preparing students to face challenges once they graduate as informed, global citizens, and the content that NGPF provides is real-time and reality-based.

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

The Administration was especially supportive in adding this class as a graduation requirement despite managing some major class scheduling changes for 2021-22 coupled with the full return to in-person learning. They are committed to preparing students well and helping them have the most up-to-date tools of learning that will enable their success as young adults. NGPF is not only a finance curriculum; it offers numerous opportunities to develop critical skills as an adult focused on critical thinking, decision-making, and entrepreneurial elements of their character. Students themselves here often said it is and has been the most important class they ever took to learn how to live in this ever-changing world after they graduated. The school board was ready to listen and make the decision to use this opportunity to impact our student body with the best and most easy-to-use curriculum by requiring it to graduate.

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