Rock Star Educator’s Name:
Susan D. Baudoin-Bistransin
Parkdale High School, Riverdale, MD
Years as Teacher:
Financial Literacy for Teens (semester course), Fashion Design, and Capital One Student Banking Interns
Making Money Matter
Susan’s passion for teaching financial literacy comes from personal experience. 20 years ago, she became a single parent and started a new teaching position in one week. Having a great deal of credit card debt, Susan said she had never handled her own personal finances. One of the courses I had to teach was Financial Literacy and she learned the content along with the students during that year. She said she doesn’t want anyone to ever have to question their financial skills at any point in their life and that it is essential that we give students they need for success.
State Financial Education Requirement
Currently Maryland has a set of mandated financial education standards that are required to be offered in grades k-8. Maryland leaves it up to the individual counties to mandate their own graduation requirement. Seven counties have the requirement, but Prince George’s does not. Susan is speaking to her County School Board this week to ask that they mandate the course for graduation. We will keep you posted on her progress!
Called to Teach
Susan said she felt a calling to teach in second grade and that her second grade teacher inspired her. It took her a few years to determine what subjects to pursue. When she took her first Home Economics/FACS course in high school, she said she knew. She loves the practical application of academics found under the FACS umbrella and believes the skills in those courses are successful to adulthood.
The top three resources that Susan uses right now are, Take Charge Today Fin Lit Curriculum, Next Generation Personal Finance, and CW Publications “On Your Own” Life simulation program. What she loves about these three is that they are constantly updating the information. Textbooks are obsolete by the time they get ordered, but these curriculum packages are fully integrated into digital formats and all lessons are piloted and revised before being released. Susan was a National Master Educator for TCT for three years and loved sharing this great resource with teachers from all over our country. She has been using the On Your Own program for many years, back when she had to copy it onto CD’s for the students to be able to use it. She used it as a final exam. The students must live for 52 weeks in the program, paying bills and taking care of business without going bankrupt. She said it is very challenging and her students come out of it truly understanding what challenges lie ahead for them. Other great resources that Susan uses include, FDIC Money Smart for Young People, The IRS website, CFPB website and EverFi Financial Literacy.
Susan has taught fin lit for 23 of her 33 years of teaching. “It was so intimidating at first, having come from no background to speak of in financial management and at a difficult time in my life. I came to know and love the content and appreciate its importance as I took charge of my own life. When I began teaching the content in 1996, the textbook I had did not even cover ATM machines!,” Susan said. Susan said she utilized whatever she could find online and created a project-based course for students to emphasize the relevance of the content. When she was introduced to the TCT curriculum it felt like they had read her mind! She is an advocate of project-based learning and was thrilled to incorporate technology into the course and TCT made it easy to do. As a National Master Educator for TCT, Susan was able to meet Sandra Day O’Conner at a CEE conference. When she told her what she taught she looked directly at Susan and said “you keep doing what you are doing. Our students really need financial education.” Susan is currently advocating to her School Board for a Financial Literacy graduation requirement for her county. She is also in charge of the Capital One Student Run Bank program at her school. Capital One has only 4 student-run branches and the 10 seniors that they select go through a rigorous interview process. Susan mentors them in college applications and helps them to create family scenario budgets for competition. They are also charged with teaching Financial Literacy to their peers so she helps them to come up with a teaching model and execute it.
Capital One Bank asked Susan to testify at the Federal Reserve on the role of the student bankers in their Youth Savings Pilot program in 2017. What an accomplishment!
Susan is also a teacher advisor for the Society for Financial Education and Professional Development and wrote the training modules used by FDIC to train teachers on the use of their Money Smart for Young People curriculum. She was an FDIC trainer for two years and served as an editor on the revisions of the Money Smart for Young People program. When Maryland State Dept of Ed wanted to create an online course for Financial Literacy she was on the writing team. The course is currently available on the Blackboard platform.
The Greater Washington Jump$tart Coalition named Susan their Teacher of the Year in 2013 and was awarded the Financial Education and Capability Award by the MD State Dept of Ed in 2015. She also achieved National Board Certification (2008 and 2018) in CTE/FACS.
One of her Student Bankers this year wrote an article for the school newspaper on the need for financial literacy in high schools. The Society for Financial Education and Professional Development read it and asked him to open their national conference in October of 2019. He received a standing ovation! He took her fin lit course as a junior and is looking forward to a career in spreading the word about personal finance. He was recently awarded a Posse Scholarship to the Univ. of Rochester. He is also speaking to their County School Board to promote a graduation requirement in fin lit.
As someone who confesses to not balancing her checkbook back in the 90’s, Susan says she has come a long way in her advocacy for Financial Literacy Education. She tells her students on the first day of her course, “We all know that this class is an elective, and I know that you have been in school for 11 or 12 years and learned a lot of stuff. However, after you leave school you may never again quote Shakespeare or use the Pythagorean Theorem, but you will use every concept I teach you in Fin Lit every day for the rest of their lives!”
What a story! Thank you Susan for all you are doing and have done for over two decades to further the personal financial literacy mission!