Penn-Trafford students will prepare for graduation with a personal finance course

Penn-Trafford School District students preparing to graduate have more than a few requirements to check their rosters before they can graduate.

Students must complete 4 English credits, 3.5 social studies credits, 3 or 4 math courses, 3 or 4 science courses, 2 social studies credits, 1 physical education credit, 0.5 credit Health and 1 credit from Keystone Assessments to qualify for the degree.

Soon they will have another requirement – ​​a career and personal finance course, which aims to advise young people on how to make smart money choices for their future.

School board members this week approved the personal finance course in addition to district graduation requirements, beginning with the class of 2025.

The program will integrate with the State Academic Standards for Vocational and Occupational Education, a Pennsylvania Department of Education learning requirement.

High school principal Tony Aquilio said the program has been “revamped” from its origins as an elective, which was previously taught by Dennis Kosoglow for the past 20 years.

“We had the class before, and now we’ve kind of revamped it. Now it will be a real requirement,” Aquilio said. “We think it’s so important that our children leave high school with knowledge of the risk factors of investment finance, real estate, banking, online banking, credit card fraud, from the basics of personal banking to real estate investments and risk factors.

Kosoglow’s original course curriculum will be condensed and divided into two semesters. The first semester will be the compulsory course and the second will be an optional course for students who wish to deepen.

“Our thought process is that, at the moment, this is just an optional course, and the material (Kosoglow) teaches and the content he teaches is so relevant to children, we believe every child should take this type of course. “said Aquilio.

Class Format

The mandatory version of the course will be for juniors and seniors, Aquilio said.

“For kids who think they already know what they want to do next year, we’re going to have an online version and a summer online version,” Aquilio said. “If they create their schedule in January and they say they weren’t planning on taking this course, we’ll provide another option to make sure it doesn’t conflict with their regular classes.

Kosoglow hopes that gearing the class toward older students will help provide them with useful information when they are better prepared to understand it.

“They have a better understanding of money, the majority of them have made money to some degree by then, and they’re already looking at what comes after high school,” he said. he declared. “I thank our guidance service and our administration for having them think about what I want to do.”

positive preparation

Kosoglow credits the class’s success to its focus on the students. He begins the first day of the course by talking to 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 for what they want in life, and we measure that with their skills and attitudes on certain topics. From there, we are able to design the program around them.

Students follow a financial life throughout the class, learning and practicing the skills needed to create resumes, build budgets, simulate banking and investments, and even contemplate retirement.

“As we look back at a typical adult and they reflect on some of their purchases, many people wish they had chosen differently,” Kosoglow said, adding that students are often surprised when they discover their own spending habits. through budgeting.

“Even the parents would have liked to have a lesson like this when they were in school.”

Julia Maruca is editor of Tribune-Review. You can contact Julia at jmaruca@triblive.com.

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