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Name: Shelly Heath

School: Boise High School

Grade levels: 10-12

Subjects: Personal Finance, Business Law, Entrepreneurship, Leadership

Years as an educator: 18 years (5 years in the classroom, 13 years in additional roles)


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

Shelly: “I make it real! I’m not one to beat around the bush when it comes to my students. I make my classroom as ‘real-world’ as possible. I provide hands-on, up-to-date resources for my students. I implement guest speakers from the community in almost all of my units. This provides students with a prospective contact point once they graduate. We touch on topics like career exploration, post secondary education (community college, university studies and trade-technical school offerings), credit–what is it and why it is important to maintain a positive credit score, insurance, banking, investments (stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETF’s…), risk management (the importance of an emergency fund), housing (the buy vs. rent dilemma), and buying a car. 


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

Shelly: “Students must take one semester of economics in our state to graduate. We do not place enough emphasis on the personal finance topics. In my opinion, personal finance should be a graduation requirement in all states.”


Jump$tart Staff: “Can you tell us about your calling to teach?”

Shelly: “I have always had the ability to connect with people! I think that is one of my strengths as an educator. I started working with young people while in high school. I would coach youth sports through city recreation programs. As a student in high school I was active in BPA and DECA where we would work with elementary students on personal finance issues. I think the teachers I had in my business classes were very instrumental in my becoming an educator.”


Jump$tart Staff: “What are your go-to resources for teaching financial literacy to your students?”

Shelly: “Wow! I learned so much at the 2019 Jumpstart NEC I don’t even know where to start! I pull from a variety of resources that I learned about at the 2019 conference. I rely on Next Gen Personal Finance and recently won a three year subscription to Nearpod through an offering that they had. I have taken over 30 virtual PD offerings. I also pull from NEFE, Money Smart, Stukent, Foolproof (I really like that they teach consumer skepticism to young adults), Everfi, Banzai and What I learned the most at the NEC conference is to not be afraid to ask for resources, to trust your judgement, and rely on peers in your academic arena.”


Jump$tart Staff: “How do you teach during the pandemic?”

Shelly: “We were 100% virtual after March 2020 through January of 2021. We all had to modify and adjust. Our district uses Google Classroom as our platform, so I was lucky that most of my curriculum worked very well with it. The hands-on offerings of most of my resources gave me the capability to teach through the Google platform and give applied assignments that I could monitor as the students were working on them. I allowed the students to work together using breakout sessions whenever possible. We came back in-person (hybrid) in mid-January and in March, after spring break, we came back 100% in person. I feel so blessed to have the students back in person. Never again will I take my profession for granted!”


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

Shelly: “The Jumpstart NEC has been amazing! Before attending the conference I was on my own to try to piece together curriculum for my personal finance class. The person who taught it before me did not even keep the textbook as he did not use it in his class. I was left on my own to find my way. That is not always a bad thing, as it forced me to go outside my comfort zone and find resources, and not depend on what has been done in the past. The NEC opened my eyes to what educators can offer our students if we simply take chances, ask for help, and open our eyes to the endless possibilities and resources that are available to us.”