Savvy Sydney

By Sydney Goldenstein

Each year, graduation requirements in schools change little at a time.

The RE-1 Valley Board of Education decided to make some slight revisions to RE-1’s requirements, including decreasing the total amount of credits from 29 to 27 for students enrolling in the ninth grade in the 2016-2017 school years.

Of those 27 credits required, one of the newest classes added was one quarter of Financial Literacy and one quarter of Employment Skills, adding up to half an academic credit.

Financial Literacy enables students to manage savings, investment, and checking accounts, to design and maintain a household budget, to manage personal debt, to understand and select among short term and long term investment options. This class is taught by Mr. Nelson Schroeder.

Employment skills teach students important skills to use in the work force, in applying for jobs, interviews, how to make a resume, and how to compose a formal informational interview. This class is taught by Mrs. Lynn Frank.

“I appreciate that we have the classes because a lot of graduating classes before us wanted them, but I would prefer not having to take them and being able to take electives instead,” said junior Katlyn LaPorte. “A lot of students didn’t really take it seriously, so nothing was really accomplished.”

I’m grateful to be in the junior class, since I got the opportunity to take these courses as actual classes during school hours, rather than doing it on my own time and not having a teacher there to help when a question arises. The seniors were not as fortunate.

Coming into the class, it wasn’t everything I expected it to be. I thought we would learn how to balance checkbooks, spend money and budget. We did go over some of those things, but we watched videos rather than actually practicing it, which was a bummer.

The Financial Literacy unit was interesting to me. We watched a lot of videos of Dave Ramsey giving advice about money management and how to use it wisely. It was cool getting tips on how to become a millionaire, how to invest our money, and how to budget, but I felt like everything we learned from them was more for ideal situations, not so much realistic. I mean, it would be nice to be a millionaire someday; however I wish we received advice for several different situations and how to handle them.

I thought that Employment Skills had some very valuable lessons to offer. We learned how to make up professional resumes and fill out applications the right way. Everything was hands-on and we had a lot of work time to complete everything to our fullest potential.

The best part of having these courses added to our classes this year is the fact that those who passed with an 80 percent or above in each class get to have a junior waiver during second semester.

The class of 2016 is required to take these classes as an independent study. They must complete six units on CollegeinColorado using the Money 101 section, including psychology of money, money management, spending, credit, paying for college, and identity theft. To complete each unit, students must take the end of the unit quiz for the section and score at least an 80 percent on each quiz.

Many seniors are luckily enough to have a senior waiver that can be used to complete the units. The library is also open during enrichment and after school on Mondays and Wednesdays. Students were also provided an additional three hours on Dec. 4, 2015 in the computer labs to work on their units.

For an independent study, the Personal Financial Literacy course must be completed by Feb. 25, 2016.

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