Sep 09, 2021

Mission 2030 Guest Post: William Joy's Requirement for 10th Graders is a Tribute to an Educational Pioneer

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

William Joy is an educator at Lucy Beckham High School in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. Their school is the 90th recipient of the Gold Standard Challenge grant. Here is William describing Lucy Beckham’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 High School is in its inaugural year and it is a tribute to the late Lucy Beckham, a true educational pioneer in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. Beckham's vision was to create a curriculum focused on relevant career paths and life skills. Personal Finance was seen as a key life skill that our students could benefit from. It was made a requirement for 10th graders in our inaugural 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?

The key challenge was fitting this into the schedule. We settled on a 40 minute "skinny" class every other day. The best curriculum for us was the NGPF 9-week course, which allowed us to hit all of the units while being able to take advantage of the wonderful resources available through NGPF.

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

Our Principal Anna Dassing was the true catalyst. Like her mentor Lucy Beckham, Anna's love for her students, school, and community is evident in every move she makes. Her commitment to carrying out Lucy Beckham's vision of a school where the curriculum engages teachers and students through compelling, real-world content has been realized.

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

Before her untimely death, Lucy Beckham, then principal of Wando High School, started to visit other high schools to observe competency-based educational programs. She wanted a new Mount Pleasant high school system that is handed back to the students for true ownership in their learning, ultimately empowering them to make important daily decisions. Principal Anna Dassing has taken the baton from her mentor and has successfully implemented this innovative vision.

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