We are about a week away from kicking off the 16/17 school year for our three children. We typically start after Labor Day. This will also mark my third year as a committee member with my local school district, with the goal of championing financial literacy.
It has been an interesting two years. I have learned a lot about the inner working of a large school district. As you can imagine with any public institution there is a lot of red tape or events that can occur that can throw you off course to reaching your goals.
A great reminder of this was during the final months of the 15/16 school year I had pitched the idea of a screening of the documentary of Broke, Busted, and Disgusted, followed by a presentation on financial education. Unfortunately, due to a scheduling crunch it could not be accommodated and was postponed.
Luckily my voice has been heard over the last two years and it seems as if this will be the year multiple initiatives will be put in place to help increase the level of financial literacy within our district, and directly help students. An incredible reward for volunteering a few hours of my time.
Be Patient, Be Persistent
The committee’s focused on a wide variety of topics over the last two years. My main goal was to promote financial literacy, but knew I needed to bring more to the table. I offered valuable input where I could on other items being discussed, and picked my spots to insert my own personal agenda.
Feedback from a post-graduate survey supported the need for financial education among other things. That data was a great point of validation for all of the things I had previously talked about. Now as we approach the new school year the documentary screening and presentation are back on the table. In addition, as looking to insert the EverFi financial literacy curriculum into a few appropriate classes.
EverFi was a program I found via my local credit union and brokered a meeting between them and our school district. I share this not as a way to pay myself on my back, but to highlight that it never hurts to ask. The worst I could receive is a ‘no.’
What I found by asking is that my credit union sponsors school district and covers the cost of the curriculum and training for high schools. I also found our EverFi offers a middle school program that is covered by a national grant.
What do school districts need most? Good free or low-cost curriculum and training for their staff. Financial literacy match made.
One Trick Pony
Now some may accuse me of being a one trick pony when it comes to financial literacy, and that’s okay. However, I have done my research and have come up with a number of other options to provide our school district with financial resources. They are in no particular order:
National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) – Offers a full suite of free personal finance education programs specifically focused on basic personal finance skills that are relevant to the lives of teens in Grades 8-12. (HSFPP)
Working in Support of Education (W!SE) – Offers a financial literacy certification program for high school students.
National Financial Education Council (NFEC) – Offers low-cost instructor-led programs that delivers fundamental financial knowledge for grades K-2.
I’m hopeful that the 16/17 school year will be a successful one, bringing financial literacy to classroom and presentations opportunities to parents.
What resources would you suggest to a high school audience? What other organization might I benefit from contacting?