JHS Awarded Gold Standard for Personal Finance Courses

At Johnston High School, financial know-how is gold.

Late this fall, Johnston High School was awarded a Next Gen Personal Finance Gold distinction for their commitment to educating all JHS students in 21st Century personal finance skills.

During the summer of 2017, Next Gen Personal Finance analyzed 11,000 U.S. high school course websites to measure student access to comprehensive financial education. Johnston High School was one of only 600 high schools nationwide to deliver the Gold Standard of a required, standalone, semester+ personal finance course.

The 2017-18 school year is the first year JHS has made a financial literacy course a graduation requirement for students. It replaces a technology requirement and was approved by the board in spring 2017. While variations of personal finance classes have been taught at JMS and JHS for years, a required semester-long course now puts financial know-how in the spotlight for all students.

Kayla Bousum, JHS business teacher, along with Lexi Shafer and Kristy Volesky – also business teachers – have worked together to develop a curriculum that is relevant and practical for students as they prepare to leave high school.

JHS teacher Kayla Bousum stands next to the NGPF poster

JHS business teacher Kayla Bousum is one of three educators leading the financial literacy required course at the high school.

“Our financial literacy course is offered at the junior level and it’s a good time to get students thinking about things like college loans and debt, credit cards, simple investments, and taxes,” Bousum said. “At this point, many kids have jobs and are looking at their plans beyond high school, so how they spend and plan to spend their money is a natural part of their lives.”

Bousum said students have voiced their approval of the class and parents have, as well.

“The feedback I receive from both students and parents is that they love it,” Bousum said. “Parents are thankful we’re teaching these real-life skills in high school and it’s now a requirement for all students. Not many schools or districts in the nation offer this and it’s good to know Johnston is ahead of the curve on preparation for life beyond JHS.”

As part of the Next Gen Personal Finance Gold distinction, the high school now has the opportunity to earn a $2500 grant through social media promotion.