OPHS Becomes 'Gold Standard School' for Financial Literacy
Orchard Park High School joined the ranks of 17 high schools across New York State in becoming an NGPF Gold Standard School for requiring students to complete at least one personal finance course before graduation.
This honor comes on the heels of news from earlier in 2021 of Orchard Park High School receiving a $10,000 Gold Standard Challenge Grant from NGPF, short for Next Gen Personal Finance. The high school's Business Department continues to leverage the funding to enhance its financial literacy curriculum.
"We began addressing financial literacy education back in 2005, and we’ve seen the need for it grow every year since," said Kristen Casto, a business teacher at Orchard Park High School who helped spearhead the NGPF grant application. "As an added bonus, we have partnered with our local community college, SUNY Erie, for many years to offer our Personal Finance course for college credit. So not only are our students learning about real-world financial skills but also they have the opportunity to save money on college before they even leave high school."
According to NGPF, high school personal finance courses change lives, with benefits ranging from higher credit scores and decreased use of predatory lenders to larger retirement account balances and a greater accumulation of wealth during students' lifetimes. NGPF also states only one in five high school students nationwide graduates with a guaranteed personal finance course.
NGPF bestowed the Gold Standard School honor upon 1,591 high schools nationwide in 2021; five highly involved states accounted for 50 percent of the total. Aside from this list, six U.S. states currently guarantee every high school student in the state takes a personal finance course.
"Gold Standard Schools show remarkable leadership, surging ahead of state progress on financial education instead of waiting for a mandate," said Tim Ranzetta, co-founder of NGPF. "The teachers, parents, students, administrators and community leaders in these schools show what can happen when a coalition commits to build the financial capability of the next generation."
Next Gen Personal Finance (NGPF) is on a mission to ensure all high school students get guaranteed access to a full semester class in personal finance. NGPF.org has become the "one-stop shop" for more than 52,000 financial educators looking for high-quality, engaging curriculum to build the financial capability of their students. NGPF's curriculum, teacher professional development, and advocacy tools are provided at no cost to schools. Visit www.ngpf.org for more information.