Rock Star Educator’s Name:
Mt. Vernon High School in Mt. Vernon, IN (Posey County)
Years as Teacher:
Personal Financial Responsibility, Digital Applications & Responsibility, Work Based Learning (Career Intern), Introduction To Business, and Business Management
In his 41 years of teaching at Mt. Vernon HS, Jim has had students in his classes from a full range of socio-economic backgrounds and each with unique personalities. Jim says, “A common need of all high school students is a need to be taught positive behaviors with their money and finances, to be encouraged and given the tools to incorporate a “Pay Yourself First” mentality, and provide guidance on how to become financially independent over their adult lifetime.” Jim says this is his goal with each lesson and concept introduced into class. He tells his students at the beginning of each semester: “Personal Financial Responsibility will be the most important class you take in high school- Why? Because upon graduation from high school, each and every new day you will deal with some lesson, topic, or concept we discussed in class over the semester.”
Making Money Matter
Teaching personal financial responsibility is and has been a passion of Jim’s for many years at MVHS. He says, “Having experienced money challenges and missteps over the years, as well as many positive experiences with money, all of these moments have motivated me to provide students with financial life skills and money management techniques. My hope is that they will be successful with their money at each different stage of life, avoiding negative experiences with their money.”
Financial Education Requirement
Indiana requires public schools, charter schools, and accredited nonpublic schools to provide instruction in personal financial responsibility to students in grades 6-12 under standards adopted by the state board of education. Jim reports the MSD of Mt. Vernon (Mt. Vernon HS), this past January, approved a proposal he had written with the support of all stakeholders, to requiring a personal finance class (1 semester) in order to graduate from MVHS beginning with the incoming freshman class of 2020-21! As a result of these efforts, MVHS was awarded a $10,000 grant via NGPF Gold Standard Challenge!
Called to Teach
Jim’s desire to enter the field of Education 41 years ago, goes back to his days in high school and college. He had the privilege to have had many influential teachers and coaches during the journey, each one providing valuable lessons in life which has stayed with him ever since. Jim has always enjoyed working with young students, engaging each day, seeing them grow and mature over the years.
“I rely very heavily on community resources via guest speakers, each with their unique take on preparing yourself financially for the future. The speakers provide relevant material and enhance our class topics in areas such as: banking, real estate, risk management, investing, estate planning, financing college, and credit to name a few,” Jim says. “A portion of the class each new class looks forward to each semester is our ‘Buying A House’ segment, where we tour a house for sale with a local realtor, dissecting the ‘Offer To Purchase’, as well as work through the borrower’s loan application and required closing documents with a local banker. Additionally, I have used and still do, educational materials from Jump$tart, NGPF, NEFE, Dave Ramsey’s Foundations in Personal Finance, and the H&R Block Budget Simulation, all of which have provided invaluable lessons!” says Jim.
How this Rockstar Teacher is Teaching During a Pandemic
Since mid-March, Jim’s school corporation (3 elementary, 1 jr. high, 1 high school), for the remainder of the school year, implemented virtual learning. The high school students have Macbooks, so teachers pushed out lessons, assignments, projects, etc. to the students. If a family did not have adequate internet capabilities, then teachers would put together packets for those students to work thru as well.