Nov 19, 2017

NGPF Podcast: Tim Talks to Enterprising Educator, Dan LaSalle of Olney High School (Philadelphia, PA)

Want a radical approach to teaching financial education? How about creating jobs for your students at school and paying them for their efforts...then standing back and watch how they manage THEIR money. Dan LaSalle, educator at Olney High School in Philadelphia came up with this idea, received a grant to fund it and shares his observations after one year of running the IF (Identity and Finance) Project. His belief: to teach kids about money they need to have money to manage. Listen to the passionate advocate as he describes the joys and challenges of his innovative program. Enjoy!


  • 0:00–0:46: Introduction
  • 0:47–3:15: Learning money lessons from his parents’ experience
  • 3:16–4:58:  First job: from spending habits to savings habits
  • 4:59–7:59: The humble beginnings of the IF Fellowship
  • 8:00–9:43: Fully funded student jobs
  • 9:44–11:32: How students overcame hardships
  • 11:33–13:44: Catered food and serving basic financial knowledge
  • 13:45–15:23: From the classroom to the bank: Dan’s there every step of the way
  • 15:24–20:12: Fighting the system and getting the unbanked banked
  • 20:13–25:33: Students are eager to learn the principles of personal finance
  • 25:34–28:28: A class full of online banking case studies
  • 28:29–32:31: The next iteration of the IF Fellowship
  • 32:32–35:05: Helping students commit to their life goals through managing finances
  • 35:06–37:36: What fuels Dan’s passion for teaching personal finance
  • 37:37–38:21:  Conclusion


Notable Quotes:

  • “It became clear to me… finance is just this scary, overwhelming thing for families. And for so many students, they’re not taught how to handle their finances and they’re not learning it in school.”
  • “A lot of [the families of the students] talked out loud in these big group settings about how they struggled with bills… and debt, and how they don’t want that for their kids.”
  • “For me and for the students themselves, to see that 70% of the immediate family member that came could not set up a bank account for their child as a cosigner… was really a powerful moment… for not just the teachers in the school, but also the students themselves to see that the stuff they’re learning… is something that their immediate family members are often struggling with themselves… and it’s something they definitely want to know and understand and master”
  • “The optimistic part that always came after… was that 99% that parent turned around to their kid and said, ‘you better do will in this class and you better do well at this job because if you learn this now, you’re not going to make the same mistakes that I did.”
  • “68% of the students moved more money from their checking account into their savings account than I had originally suggested.”
  • “Finance has to be… a part of every school… [Finance] plays a role in how to live the life you want.”

About the Authors

Danielle Bautista

Danielle is a native of Southern California and a recent graduate from the University of Maine, where she braved the frigid winters—a feat in and of itself—and earned her Bachelor's degree in International Affairs. She has a passion for working with non-profit organizations and serving populations in underprivileged communities. When Danielle isn't writing NGPF blog posts, spearheading various outreach projects, or managing contests and flash surveys, you can find her doing some sort of outdoor activity, learning a new hobby, or cracking what she thinks are witty puns!

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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