Mission 2030 Guest Post: Nathan Hochmuth Changed a Math Course into a Personal Finance Course and saw Huge Success
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
Nathan Hochmuth is an educator at Manitowoc Lutheran High School in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Their school is the 157th recipient of the Gold Standard Challenge grant. Here is Nathan describing Manitowoc’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?
In the 5 years I have been the Mathematics Department Head, we began by offering Consumer Math. After 3 years of little interest, we decided we needed to combine some of our courses together. We ended up making our Consumer Math into a Personal Finance 1 semester course last year. This year, after seeing the success in the course last year, we decided we wanted to make this course a requirement for our students. We presented the idea to our Academic Committee, who approved it and sent it on to our Board of Control for final approval earlier this year.
What challenges did you encounter in your efforts to make personal finance a graduation requirement, and what solutions did you find for these challenges?
We had always discussed the need for teaching our students Personal Finance, and how applicable it would be for them in their future. We had discussed informally ways to do this, but it didn't formally start planning for this until we redid our Personal Finance course and seeing the success of it.
What/who were the "catalysts for change" that allowed your efforts to be successful?
Our Personal Finance teacher did an excellent job teaching the course to 30-40 students, after years of 3-5 students in the previous Consumer Math course. Students talked about how applicable and useful this course was for them. Upon hearing and seeing this, we as Department Heads decided that this was a need for our students and something we felt was important enough to make this a required class.
Which stakeholders (students, parents, admin, business leaders, school board, etc) were helpful partners in your quest to make the graduation requirement happen?
We surveyed students informally after initially thinking we wanted to require it. After that, our Department Heads discussed and approved it at our Academic Committee meeting. Our School Board then discussed and approved it as well.