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Name: Susan Comparato

School: Swampscott High School, Swampscott, MA

Grade levels: 9-12

Subjects: Personal Financial Literacy, Money Management, Accounting & Social Media Marketing

Years as an educator: 26

Jump$tart Staff: “How do you make money matter to your students?”

Susan: “Being able to teach a practical course like Financial Literacy allows me to reach the students on a different level. I always remind them that no one will care more about their money than they will and I think that truly resonates with them. They never ask “When will I use this in my life?” and that makes it easier to get them interested in the topics we are covering. I try to share as many personal experiences as I can, including my mistakes, so they understand that they will also run into roadblocks but it’s how they react to those challenges that will make the difference in their financial future. They have the gift of time on their side and I try to make them see the benefit of that and what goals they can achieve with small steps now.”

Jump$tart Staff: “What is the financial education requirement in your state?”

Susan: “In Massachusetts students are required to meet financial literacy standards that are included in the social studies frameworks. At Swampscott High School we have taken it a step further and made it a graduation requirement that every student will take a semester of personal finance in their junior or senior year.”

Jump$tart Staff: “Can you describe your calling to teach?”

Susan: “I wanted to be a teacher from the time I was young. I originally went to college for management but quickly realized that my true interest was teaching. I switched majors after my freshman year as well as transferring schools and never looked back.”

Jump$tart Staff: “What are your go-to resources for teaching personal finance?”

Susan: “I try to vary the resources I use but my main resource is NGPF. I take most of their materials and edit them to suit the needs of my students. I try to make as many activities as hands on as possible to keep the students engaged.”

Jump$tart Staff: How does the NEC effect your teaching?

Susan: “In a single word, networking! I have met some amazing and talented educators at the conferences that I can share ideas with. When you are “on an island” with what you teach it is so helpful to be able to reach out to others for feedback and assistance when you need it. Being connected to sponsors, exhibitors, and attending workshop sessions has also helped me to consistently challenge myself to be a better educator. Each time I have attended, I return to school with something I can implement immediately, and I am so grateful to have been able to attend!”