It’s an increasingly important part of education for students to know how to handle money, which is why a financial literacy class for high school students is attracting interest among teens. Navigating personal finance is just as important as traditional basic subjects these days.
At Northport High School, over 650 students have completed the financial literacy course offered by the school, learning there what they don’t always learn at home. Planning and living out a future that is relatively debt free is the primary lesson.
According to assistant principal Denise Keenan, taking the class now means that students wont make serious mistakes later. “Money is kind of a taboo subject,” she said, so kids might have an open dialogue with their parents about drugs and alcohol while never talking about family finances
Teacher Allison Schwabish is the instructor of the financial literacy class, and coordinates the school’s Academy of Finance business program. She said students start by learning how to budget their money, then move on other topics: bank accounts, leasing versus buying, the difference between credit and debit and investing.
Teacher Liz Price, an instructor in the Academy of Finance program, said college loans are an important topic, as many teens naively assume “their parents have hundreds of thousands of dollars saved up” to pay for their childrens’ educations.
Northport students may take financial literacy as a stand-alone course, or they can enroll in the district’s Academy of Finance. The three-year program, established in 1995, gives kids “the financial skills needed in college and career,” Keenan said. Enrollment is brisk for these elective courses—”Every year, they’re all full,” she said.
The curriculum covers college-level accounting and marketing, financial planning, business law, entrepreneurship, public speaking and a paid internship in a financial institution or business. Eligible students receive paid internships through the Academy of Finance program, and eligibility is determined by class attendance, grade point average, completing two job-shadowing experiences and participating in a mock interview.