Aug 03, 2021

Mission 2030 Guest Post: Mandi Kercher Provides Students with Real-World Experiences through Personal Finance

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

Mandi Kercher is an educator at Brandywine Heights High School in Topton, Pennsylvania. Their school is the 138th recipient of the NGPF Gold Standard grant. Here is Mandi in their own words describing Branywine’s path from the Silver Standard to the Gold Standard in a year!

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?

Teachers discussed the need for personal finance skills as a necessary graduation requirement during the natural curriculum writing cycle. As the department identified career and financial readiness skills gaps, they determined that a required course would address the needs. This process took approximately 1 year. It began in January 2019 and continued meetings to review course objectives, skills, and activities. The major milestones were curriculum development, curriculum approval, Board presentation, and formal adoption of the curriculum.

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

First, scheduling was one of the main issues. We needed to find a way to fit the course into every student’s unique schedule. Second, we needed to filter the topics covered in the courses being offered to ensure that the essential skills were addressed and matched our career and financial readiness skills standards. Finally, since we are a small school, we needed to figure out how we can require this course while still providing flexibility in course offerings

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

In going through the curriculum cycle, we analyzed the skills needed to be a successful citizen. One of those areas addressed personal finance. As we began the adoption process, we gathered feedback from community members that illustrated the importance of personal finance as a lifelong skill. This was successful because the Board and community members supported the adoption of skills relative to 21st-century learning that provide real-world experiences for our students.

About the Author

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