Aug 12, 2021

Mission 2030 Guest Post: Mary Brouilette Has Community Support to Further Personal Finance Education

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 Brouilette is an educator in the Maple Run Unified School District in St Albans, Vermont. Their school is the 134th recipient of the Gold Standard Challenge grant. Here is Mary describing Maple Run'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?

It took about 10 years to advocate for Personal Finance to become a graduation requirement at our school. It is taught within the Business Department. The major milestone was a change in our administration at our school that believed that all students should learn financial literacy skills before they graduate.

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

A change in our administrators helped us make Personal Finance a graduation requirement. The previous administration at our school did not want to change the graduation requirements. Our current administration, when approached with the idea of replacing our current graduation requirement Computer Applications for Personal Finance, thought it was a great idea for all 10-12th graders to have financial literacy skills and we were able to move forward. We also needed to convince them that we did not need to hire another teacher as the Computer Applications classes would be replaced with the same number of Personal Finance classes so another Business Teaching position would not be added to the budget.

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

Bill Kimball Assistant Superintendent, Sara Kattam Assistant Principal, Brett Blanchard Principal, Mary Brouillette Business Department Chair, Kristen Perrault Business Teacher, Edee McArtor Business Teacher, and our local Business and Professional Women's Association

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

We had community members write letters and have discussions with our administrators when they ran into them. For the last three years, our Business Department partnered with our local BPW (Business Professional Women's Group) to hold a Financial Literacy Event at our school. During this event, our local bank, People's Trust Company, would talk with administrators, and also members of the bank would serve as guest speakers within our Career Exploration classes and Personal Finance class when it was an elective. Parents would also express to us during parent conferences the importance of students having access to a Personal Finance class and students would talk about the need to know this information. A couple of years ago we had two of our business students present to our school board the classes that the Business Department offered and what they had learned from taking the classes. During this meeting, questions were asked about Personal Finance.
Last year we had a change in our administration and our Interim Principal/Asst. the Superintendent and Assistant Principal thought it was a good idea to have Personal Finance as a graduation requirement and our new Principal for this year agreed.

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