Warsaw Community Schools 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 of 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, Warsaw Community Schools’ 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 Dr. David Robertson and Amanda Nine, examined what skills graduates need. While WCHS 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 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, Warsaw Community Schools will offer this financial training for all first-year teachers embedded in the year-long WCS onboarding 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 at https://www.warsawschools.org/page/strategic-plan-adaptability
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.
Dr. David Robertson added, “I am blown away by the fact that we work in a district that responds to the community. This grew from seeing the need and now implementing a solid plan to teach adaptable life skills."
Warsaw Community Schools would like to thank community members, the task force, and educators for their support of the strategic planning adaptability pillar goals.