Penn-Trafford School District students preparing for graduation have more than a few requirements to check off their lists before they can earn a diploma.
Students must complete 4 credits of English, 3.5 credits of social studies, 3 or 4 math courses, 3 or 4 science courses, 2 humanities credits, 1 physical education credit, 0.5 health credits, and 1 Keystone assessment credit. be eligible to graduate.
Soon, they’ll have one more requirement: a career and personal finance class, which focuses on advising young people on how to make smart money choices in their future.
School board members approved the personal finance course this week as an addition to the district’s graduation requirements, starting with the class of 2025.
The program will align with the state Academic Standards for Education and Work, a learning requirement of the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
High School Principal Tony Aquilio says the program has been “revamped” from its origins as an elective, which was previously taught by Dennis Kosoglow for the past 20 years.
“We’ve had the class before, and now we’ve renewed it. Now, it will be a real requirement,” said Aquilio. banking, online banking, credit card fraud, the basics of personal banking to real estate investing. and risk factors.”
Kosoglow’s original course curriculum will be condensed and split into two semesters. The first semester will be the compulsory course, and the second will be an optional course for students who are interested in going deeper.
“Our thought process is that, right now, it’s just an elective, and the material (Kosoglow) teaches and the content it teaches is so relevant to kids, it’s our opinion that every kid should have to go through that kind of of course.” said Aquilio.
The compulsory version of the course will be aimed at juniors and seniors, Aquilio said.
“For those kids who already think they know what they want to wear next year, we’re going to offer an online version and a summer version,” Aquilio said. “If they’re creating their schedule in January and they say they didn’t plan to take this course, we’re going to offer another option to make sure it doesn’t conflict with their regular classes.”
Kosoglow hopes that targeting the class to older students will help provide them with useful information when they are most ready to understand it.
“They have a better understanding of money, most of them have made money to some degree at that point, and they’re already looking at what’s after high school,” he said. “I give credit to our guidance department and administration for making them think about what I want to do.”
Kosoglow credits the class’s success to its focus on students. Start the first day of the course by talking to the students about their ideas and hopes for the future.
“They engage with the program because they realize it’s 120% applicable to the real world,” he said. “We look at their own aspirations and dreams, their goals about what they want out of life, and measure that against their aptitudes and attitudes about certain subjects. From there, we can design the program around them.”
Students follow a financial life throughout the class, learning and practicing the skills needed to create resumes, budget, simulate banking and investing, and even look toward retirement.
“As we look back at a typical adult and reflect on some of their purchases, many people wish they had made different choices,” Kosoglow said, adding that students are often surprised when they learn about their own spending habits through budgeting.
“Even parents wish they had a course like this when they were in school.”
Julia Maruca is a staff writer for the Tribune-Review. You can contact Julia at [email protected]