Financial Literacy for Everyone
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  • "I believe a course in Practical Money Skills should be a required course for all students in Middle/Junior/High School."

    Gladys Fitzhugh-Pemberton, Theodore Roosevelt High School, Washington, DC
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Innovative Educators

Innovative ideas and programs are what turns information into learning. Meet our Innovative Educators dedicated professionals who have found new ways to teach practical money skills in the classroom.

Patricia Page

December 2013

Patricia Page
East Greenwich High School
East Greenwich, RI

Patricia Page formally entered the teaching profession seven years ago, following careers in both the public and private sector that were, in her words, "inextricably intertwined" with education. She served on various boards and committees charged with analyzing the alleged disconnect between education and workplace requirements. It was this work that prompted Patricia, who holds an MBA in finance, to purse a master's degree in education. In her three years as a Business Educator at East Greenwich High School, Patricia has reached approximately 250 students, freshmen through seniors, in her personal finance course.

Core concepts she teaches in her personal finance class include creating a budget, analyzing financial records, evaluating the risk and return associated with various investment vehicles, and assessing the true cost of credit. The class is structured based on blended learning, which incorporates a variety of technology resources, including Practical Money Skills, games like Financial Football and government tools such as the National Center for Education Statistics' College Navigator and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's Paying for College platforms. She also teaches an entrepreneur class, in which she focuses heavily on personal finance because "students need to be finance savvy to approach investors."

Leading financial experts and government officials have recognized both Patricia and her students for their efforts in personal finance. In September, Patricia was selected as the 2014 Rhode Island Teacher of the Year – an honor that will encompass sitting on a variety of committees, examining academic policy issues at the school and state level and representing Rhode Island's educators nationally. The distinction will also give her the opportunity to pursue her mission of developing financial capability in today's youth. "Personal finance should not be just an elective course; the content is so essential that there needs to be opportunities for cross-curricular integration," she explains. In spring of 2013, her students were commended by Congressman Jim Langevin of Rhode Island for their exploration of the nexus between national policy issues, local economy and individual finances, as well as their participation in the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) Foundation's Capitol Hill Challenge. During his visit, students led a question-and-answer forum focusing on the national and state economy and investment markets.

To ensure that all students could showcase their business sense and financial savvy, Patricia gave them the opportunity to voluntarily participate in state and national competitions. In 2012, her students participated in the National Financial Capability Challenge, an online test sponsored by the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Department of Education. Five of Patricia's students received a perfect score, drawing the attention of Ted Beck, Council Member of President Obama's Advisory Council on Financial Capability and CEO of the National Endowment for Financial Education. He visited East Greenwich High School and personal finance and economics students gave a short presentation highlighting financial concepts they had learned. Patricia's students have also competed in Rhode Island LifeSmarts, coordinated by the Rhode Island Jump$tart Coalition, the Federal Reserve Cup Challenge, initiated by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, where they made it to the state finals, and the SIFMA Foundation's InvestWrite competition, a national essay competition requiring analysis of real world financial issues and situations as they relate to long-term saving and investing. For three years in a row, the state winner of the InvestWrite competition came from Patricia's class, and one ranked in fifth place nationally.

"Regardless of academic performance, students get excited about learning to manage money," she said, explaining that she wants to make a positive impact on education. "It has universal appeal. They are learning skills that will carry them forward beyond the high school walls. That to me is satisfaction. I firmly believe that I do make a systematic difference by linking a student's academic experience to their post-secondary pursuits, college or the workplace." Patricia admits that the hardest part about teaching personal finance to high school students is condensing the materials into one semester.

Patricia practices good finance in her own life by following the lessons she teaches in class. She often tells her students that "interest is not always in your best interest," an idea she applies to her own finance decisions. She is vigilant about paying bills on time, opening loans within her means and actively making time for revising her budget and investment strategies on a regular basis.

Patricia Page was one of six educators sponsored by Practical Money Skills to attend the Jump$tart Coalition National Educator Conference in Washington, DC in November 2013.

Practical Money Skills would like to commend Patricia Page for her ongoing efforts and commitment to financial literacy education at East Greenwich High School.

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