South Orangetown Central School District

Financial literacy is the focus of Tappan Zee High School’s newly redesigned business coursework.

Teacher Darrell Flynn joined the high school faculty this year with over a decade of experience. “I’ve taught financial literacy for the past 12 years and was a pilot teacher for the University of Chicago’s FinEDge curriculum in my previous district,” he said. Flynn received a scholarship from the university to attend the JumpStart National Educator Conference in November, which gathered educators from across the country to learn about free, real world tools and resources available to support financial literacy instruction.

At the December 5 Curriculum Council meeting, Flynn presented his proposal for a new, one-semester course, Career and Financial Management, to be offered in the 2020-21 school year. The course will follow the research-based FinEDge curriculum, available to schools at no cost, and be open to all high school students.

“The curriculum follows a Financial Well-Being Map,” Flynn explained. “We start with financial decision-making: talking about our values and attitudes toward money and setting goals. What does it mean to be financially well? Then we cover the pathways toward financial wellness: savings and spending, borrowing, earning, managing risk through investing and insurance and financing post-secondary education.”

“We really want to promote this for our students earlier in their high school experience,” noted Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Brian Culot. “Ideally, we’d like every student to have taken this course by graduation.”

Flynn has already begun to weave components of the FinEDge curriculum into this year’s business classes. Students recently learned about financial planning for college–both in terms of paying tuition and managing money as a student–and how to majors correlate to employment opportunities.

“It has helped me understand how to pay for college and what financial aid is available, but we also talked about debt and the process of paying back loans after graduation,” said sophomore Kelly L. “We looked at what careers are expected to have a positive economic outlook when we graduate so that we can plan for what we study in college.”

“Learning how to be more financially independent is important,” added Hayley A., a junior. “Right now, we’re so dependent on our parents for paying for everything. Things will be much different when we are on our own–simple things, like whether to go out to eat or cook at home or buy used books instead of brand-new ones.”

“As a pilot teacher, Mr. Flynn has extensive knowledge of this curriculum and is invested in learned or this curriculum and the recent conference. is very excited about introducing this course to our students,” said Principal Rudy Arietta. “He learned a lot from his experience as one of the pilot teachers and from his experience at the recent conference. I can’t wait to see how those experiences will translate into meaningful learning opportunities for TZHS students.”

Click here to view the Career & Financial Management course description in the 2020-21 Curriculum Guide.

Students working on laptop at desks in classroom