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Penn-Trafford School District students preparing for graduation have more than a few requirements to check off their lists before receiving their diploma.

Students must complete 4 credits of English, 3.5 credits of social studies, 3 or 4 courses of math, 3 or 4 courses of science, 2 credits of humanities, 1 credit of physical education, 0.5 credit of health, and 1 credit of Keystone assessment. be eligible to graduate.

Soon, they’ll have another requirement: a career and personal finance course focused on advising young people on how to make smart money choices in their futures.

School board members this week approved a personal finance course as an addition to the district’s graduation requirements starting with the class of 2025.

The program will meet the State Academic Standards for Career Education and Employment, a learning requirement of the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

High School Principal Tony Aquilio said the program has “evolved” from its origins as an elective previously taught by Dennis Kosoglove for the past 20 years.

“We’ve had a class before, and now we’ve kind of revised it. Now it will be a de facto requirement,” Aquilio said. “We believe it is critical that our children leave high school knowing the basics of investment financing risk factors, real estate, banking, online banking, credit card fraud, personal banking, all the way to real estate investing. and risk factors”.

The initial curriculum of the Kosoglov course will be condensed and divided into two semesters. The first semester will be a required course and the second semester will be an elective for students interested in digging deeper.

“Our thought process is that right now it’s just an elective, and the material that (Kosoglov) teaches and the content that he teaches is so relevant to kids that we think every kid should take that course.” Aquilio said.

Class format

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

“For kids who already think they know what they want to take next year, we’re going to provide an online option and a summer online option,” Aquilio said. “If they create their schedule in January and say they don’t plan to take this course, we’re going to offer another option to make sure it doesn’t conflict with their regularly scheduled classes.”

Kosoglov hopes that gearing the class toward older students will help provide them with useful information when they are more ready to understand it.

“They understand money better, most of them have made some money at that point, and they’re already eyeing what’s out there after high school,” he said. “I credit our guidance department and administration for making them think about what I want to do.”

Positive preparation

Kosoglov attributes the success of the class to her focus on the students. On the first day of the course, he begins by talking to the students about their ideas and hopes for the future.

“They commit to the program because they realize it’s 120% real-world,” he said. “We look at their own aspirations and dreams, their goals of what they want out of life, and we measure that against their inclinations and attitudes about certain subjects. From there, we can design the program around them.”

Students follow financial life throughout the class, learning and practicing the skills needed to build resumes, create budgets, simulate banking and investing, and even retire.

“When we look back at the average adult and they think about some of their purchases, many wish they had made different choices,” Kosoglov said, adding that students are often surprised when they learn about their spending habits. budgeting.

“Even parents wish they had a course like this when they were in school.”

Julia Maruca is a staff writer for the Tribune-Review. You can contact Julia at [email protected]

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