Business Department Receives Next Gen Personal Finance Gold Standard Challenge Grant

Business teacher, Kristen Casto smiles while holding the oversized grant check in her classroom..

OPHS Business Department Named Recipient of Personal Finance Grant

  • In February the Orchard High School Business Department was named the recipient of the 'Next Gen Personal Finance Gold Standard Challenge' grant for $10,000.

    Business Teacher Mrs. Kristen Casto learned of Next Gen Personal Finance at a Business Teachers conference in 2019.  Next Gen Personal Finance’s mission is to revolutionize the teaching of personal finance in all schools in order to improve the financial lives of the next generation of Americans. They plan to do this by providing free up-to-date curriculum, engaging professional development and advocacy resources to increase access to financial education. In addition to providing free curriculum and PD, NGPF issues various grants and sponsorships to schools, teachers, students, and like-minded organizations.  Since learning of this resource Mrs. Casto along with her colleagues have utilized the resources and professional development tools to enhance their curriculum.  

    In the fall of 2019 NGPF had reached out to find out more about what the Orchard Park High School Business Department was doing.  During their virtual meeting Mrs. Casto and the rest of the Business Department discussed the Gold Standard Challenge Grant.  The OPHS Business Dept. was able to qualify for the grant because in March of 2020 the Board of Education supported revised graduation requirements that included all students taking a course in Personal Finance to graduate.

    Mrs. Casto spearheaded the grant application process with input from Mr. Pat Loftus, the department’s Instructional Leader.  The application required a description of how the personal finance graduation requirement came to fruition and a signed copy of the BOE minutes.  

    The Orchard Park HS Business Department began addressing the need for financial literacy education in 2005 when they implemented the Academy of Finance program. The AOF program is part of NAF (, which is a national network of education, business, and community leaders who work together to ensure high school students are college, career, and future ready.

    The Orchard Park High School Business Department is looking forward to using these funds to advance their mission to graduate students who are knowledgeable of the free enterprise system, have successful careers, contribute positively to their communities and share their experiences with future generations.  The department empowers our students through the sharing of information and knowledge with classroom and field experiences.  These grant funds will be dedicated to furthering the goal of financial literacy for all Orchard Park High School students.   In the past, the financial literacy efforts have been focused on the Academy of Finance students and has been funded through the AOF Advisory Board.  These grant funds will allow the department to expand their efforts to the larger student population.  In the coming months the Business Department will be determining exactly how the funds will be utilized.

    “As we strive to prepare our students for their next chapter, it was clear that all students will benefit greatly from deepening their financial literacy.  From understanding debt such as when considering student loans or credit cards, contemplating whether to buy or lease a vehicle, or saving for retirement, having a financial literacy foundation will serve students well,” said Dr. Lisa Krueger, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction.

     The Business Department would like to thank the efforts of the Academy of Finance Advisory Board who have consistently supported the Personal Finance course and the larger effort of financial literacy along with support from members of the Orchard Park Central School District Administrative team specifically Dr. Lisa Krueger, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Pupil Services and Mr. Jon Wolf, Orchard Park High School Principal.  Without their efforts and continued support it wouldn’t have been possible for the Board of Education to adopt the requirement that a Personal Finance course is needed to graduate and in hand receive this $10,000 grant which will benefit all students at Orchard Park High School.

Mr. Jon Wolf congratulates the OPHS Business Department at a virtual meeting.

A screenshot of a zoom meeting where Jon Wolf congratulates the OPHS Business Department for receiving the grant.