Mission 2030 Guest Post: Tammy Vrzak's Students Advocated for Personal Finance to be Taught
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
Tammy Vrzak is an educator at Turkey Valley School in Jackson Junction, Iowa. Their school is the 96th recipient of the Gold Standard Challenge grant. Here is Tammy describing Turkey Valley’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?
When the state of Iowa required some sort of personal finance in the schools. We made it a required freshman class. We asked our administrator if we could make a stand-alone class required by the Seniors for graduation. I started this last Summer and we started the required class at the beginning of this school year, but with COVID, I didn't get it in before last year’s curriculum guide was approved so it was approved 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?
Our school did not face any challenges since our Board was all for it. They felt this was a good subject to have as a graduation requirement because our students would be taking this knowledge into the real world when they enter college and/or the workforce.
What/who were the "catalysts for change" that allowed your efforts to be successful?
The “catalysts for change” were definitely the Senior kids that recommended to the board that it be a requirement for Seniors as it was important information to know before leaving high school. They are the ones that made my efforts successful.
Which stakeholders (students, parents, admin, business leaders, school board, etc) were helpful partners in your quest to make the graduation requirement happen?
My students were instrumental in going to our board to ask for personal finance to be taught as a senior class.