Schools to offer financial literacy classes
LaGRANGE — When school starts in August, 10th graders at all three high schools and THINC College & Career Academy will have the opportunity to take a financial literacy elective course for one full credit thanks to some work put in by community members and school district employees.
Penny Johnson, Troup County School System director of secondary education, introduced the course during the June meeting of the Board of Education.
“We heard it loud and clear from the community, parents, teachers and business leaders – students coming out of high school are unprepared to make financial decisions,” she said. “Over the past few months, we have worked with some leaders in the community to come up with this course to help change that trend.”
Johnson stated she reached out to a number of leaders to participate in a focus group and begin the process of creating the student-centered financial course offering. They include:
• Renae Willis, vice president of business development and marketing for the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce.
• Casey Smith, vice president of operations for Calumet Bank.
• Ashley McCoy, branch manager at Commercial Bank & Trust.
• Joanne Britt, TCSS math academic coach.
• Martie Hornsby, TCSS social studies academic coach.
During the group meetings, they analyzed feedback from the community, prioritized class elements, brainstormed student activities, identified standards to meet needs, chose a target audience and then created the financial literacy course.
“We see that students graduating from high school are getting into debt, have no concept of saving, are living pay check to pay check, have little to no understanding of interest rates, and ultimately, accrue bad credit scores because of their lack of knowledge,” Johnson said.
Willis said lack of financial literacy has “grave implications.”
“It is not just a money problem. It can also be the difference between receiving a job offer or not because during the job screening process, some employers run a credit check of potential employees.”
Britt said the group is targeting sophomores, who are typically starting to work and take driving tests.
“It’s a perfect time because they need to consider money management in their decision making,” she said. The course “is in a pilot year, and we think it will be very successful with this age group of students.”
Business and economics teachers are slated to teach the course.
“The curriculum easily falls into our current career, technical, agriculture and engineering program,” Britt said. “We have made it our own based on the local community needs.”
Willis closed by saying, “This is a solid course. We custom-designed it so our Troup County students will be able to learn money management skills that will benefit them throughout their entire lives.”