WARSAW — Warsaw Community Schools staff recently approved a new class requirement for students to graduate, beginning with the Class of 2024.
Dr. David Robertson, assistant superintendent of elementary schools, explained that adding the financial course began as a discussion in November 2019 during a curriculum council meeting.
At that meeting, David Clark, Warsaw Area Career Center business teacher, spoke up and challenged the council, asking, “If our mission is to inspire and equip all students to continuously acquire and apply knowledge and skills while pursuing their dreams and enriching the lives of others, it is our responsibility to provide educational opportunities for them to not encumber a mountain of debt that will, in fact, prevent them from pursuing their dreams.”
Data from Smallbox, WCS’s strategic planning partner, also confirmed a need to focus on adaptability. As a result, leaders investigated, collaborated and researched the possibility of launching a pilot program. This group of educators and community professionals, led by Robertson and Amanda Nine, examined what skills graduated need. While Warsaw Community High School does offer a personal finance class, the adaptability team’s goal was to develop a more structured course.
Adopting Dave Ramsey’s personal financial responsibility course, a nationwide curriculum, students will have access to proven principles, practical application and radical results. WCHS’s guidance department will work with students to incorporate this class when mapping out their four-year plan. The Ramsey financial literacy program includes modules on housing costs, personal budgeting, debt, food costs and credit scores.
After a full-year cycle, the pilot class data is impressive. One hundred percent of students who completed the class would recommend it to other students. This highly structured approach to teaching real-life financial skills will provide opportunities for students to navigate their post-graduate world and to make sound financial decisions.
Additionally, WCS will offer this financial training for all first-year teachers embedded in the year-long WCS on-boarding support program. People in the community have reached out to WCS to offer their expertise. Anyone interested in learning more and getting involved, please visit the WCS district website for the adaptability pillar strategic planning page.
A possible middle school course elective is the next thing the adaptability team is looking at. Their work will also include how students can grow through feedback. The team is looking at specific models like Marzano to better understand the best strategies to improve student achievement. By auditing what currently exists and exploring feedback models, the adaptability team will move the district forward with a systemic approach.
“I am blown away by the fact that we work in a district that responds to the community,” said Robertson. “This grew from seeing the need and now implementing a solid plan to teach adaptable life skills.”