Financial literacy course may become a future graduation requirement at Carlisle High School

Full implementation may take years, but a newly approved financial literacy course could become mandatory for graduation from Carlisle High School.

“The administration could come back, even later this school year, to see how to change the requirements for obtaining the diploma,” school board president Paula Bussard said Thursday. “It will become a required course.”

His comments came moments before board members approved the semester-long course, which will involve juniors and seniors in 2022-23 and 2023-24 and then only juniors in subsequent years.

In the past, the district offered financial literacy or personal finance courses as an elective to students enrolled in the business academy or other programs offered by the high school’s Career and Technology Center. For years, the board and administration have made it a priority to expand this scope into a curriculum for all students.

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“It’s been on the radar for nearly a decade,” board member Bruce Clash said Thursday. “Congratulations to the administration for making this possible. The mission of public education is to create well-rounded individuals who are ready to become citizens. This course takes a big step in that direction.

Financial literacy will provide basic insight into topics such as career exploration, budgeting, taxes, insurance, banking, credit and investing, said board member Jon Tarrant, who sits on the education committee.

“Major projects may include developing a career plan, a monthly budget, and a comprehensive financial plan document based on the student’s career goals,” reads the course description. “These projects will require defining short, medium and long-term goals as well as defining action steps to achieve those goals.”

The course will require a teacher to teach approximately 12 sections each semester. Each section will meet for two block periods of 85 minutes every eight days of the cycle. For the student, this is equivalent to approximately 22 course periods per semester.

The goal is to integrate financial literacy into the first year of a student wellness stream of program offerings that also include semester-long courses in health, physical education, and education to safety.

“Recognizing the unique situations, the high school administration will work with students and families during the first few years of implementation,” reads a memo describing the course.

“I’ve heard nothing but a positive response from everyone I’ve spoken to about the introduction and inclusion of this course,” Tarrant said.

Joseph Cress is a reporter for The Sentinel covering education and history. You can reach him at [email protected] or by calling 717-218-0022.

Geraldine L. Melton