May 30, 2017

NGPF Podcast: Tim Talks To Teacher-Innovator Tara Kelley of Harwood Union HS (Vermont)

I had a great conversation recently with NGPF Teacher Innovator Award winner, Tara Kelley, a math teacher from Harwood Union High School in Duxbury, Vermont. Tara created a Spring Break Project (who doesn’t want to plan a spring break vacation?) which allowed her students to explore the cost of using a credit card to pay for their Spring Break vacation. They learned through this activity the impact that changing their monthly credit card payments has on the total interest paid as well as the importance of paying off a credit card balance in full every month. Enjoy!


  • 0:00~0:50 – Introduction
  • 0:50~2:12 – Tara’s day job and the community she teaches in
  • 2:12~ 5:21– Building her personal finance curriculum (first year teaching the subject)
  • 5:21~ 6:22– Teaching the credit unit
  • 6:22~7:03 – Use of technology in the classroom
  • 7:03~8:10 – How she incorporates math into her curriculum
  • 8:10~10:08 – Using online resources
  • 10:08~11:52 – How she learned personal finance through family conversations
  • 11:52~18:51 – Describing her project that won NGPF Teacher-Innovator award (Part 1)
  • 18:51~19:09 – A word from our sponsor, Next Gen Personal Finance
  • 19:09~19:55 – Describing her project (Part 2)
  • 19:55~21:22 – Learning outcomes from her project
  • 21:22~22:23 – The role of “the dice”
  • 22:23~25:28 – Student insight
  • 25:28~28:38 – Other favorite projects
  • 28:38~29:21 – Best thing bought under $10
  • 29:21~30:34 – Favorite websites
  • 30:34~32:53 – Biggest money mistake
  • 32:53~33:38 – Weekly text to her students
  • 33:38~34:37 – Conclusion


Notable Quote:
  • “The students have the knowledge and tools and they have to make the decision that’s the best at the moment for them.”

About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.

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