LAGRANGE, GA (WTVM) - When school starts in August, tenth graders at all three high schools in LaGrange, GA and THINC College & Career Academy will have the opportunity to take a financial literacy elective course for one full credit.
The course is made possible by community members and school district employees.
During the June Board of Education meeting, Troup County School System (TCSS) Director of Secondary Education, Dr. Penny Johnson, introduced the course.
"We heard it loud and clear from the community, parents, teachers, and business leaders – students coming out of high school are unprepared to make financial decisions," Johnson said. "Over the past few months, we have worked with some leaders in the community to come up with this course to help change that trend."
Johnson stated she reached out to a number of leaders to participate in a focus group and begin the process of creating the student-centered financial course offering.
- Renae Willis, Vice President of Business Development and Marketing for the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce
- Casey Smith, Vice President of Operations for Calumet Bank
- Ashley McCoy, Branch Manager at Commercial Bank & Trust
- Joanne Britt, TCSS Math Academic Coach
- Martie Hornsby, TCSS Social Studies Academic Coach
During the group meetings, they analyzed feedback from the community, prioritized class elements, brainstormed student activities, identified standards to meet needs, chose a target audience, and then created the financial literacy course.
"We see that students graduating from high school are getting into debt, have no concept of saving, are living pay check to pay check, have little to no understanding of interest rates, and ultimately, accrue bad credit scores because of their lack of knowledge," Johnson said.
"There are grave implications if people don't have a financial literacy background," Willis added. "It is not just a money problem. It can also be the difference between receiving a job offer or not because during the job screening process, some employers run a credit check of potential employees."
"We are targeting sophomores because they are starting to work and take driving tests," Britt explained. "It's a perfect time because they need to consider money management in their decision making. It (this course) is in a pilot year and we think it will be very successful with this age group of students."
Both Business and Economics teachers are slated to teach the course.
"The curriculum easily falls into our current Career, Technical, Agriculture, and Engineering program. We have made it our own based on the local community needs," Britt said.
Educators and community members are looking for the course to have a tremendous impact on the financial future of TCSS graduates.
"This is a solid course," Willis said. "We custom-designed it so our Troup County students will be able to learn money management skills that will benefit them throughout their entire lives."
To learn more about TCSS, visit troup.org or the Troup County School System Facebook page.