Educator’s speak: Michael Kania of Nicolet High School on credit, awareness and fresh perspectives
Michael Kania is an educator in the business and technology department at Nicolet High School, in Glendale, just north of Milwaukee. Since 2011, Kania has relied on our volunteers as part of his wider effort to empower hundreds of students with financial skills and information, which led to a deserved state honor in 2015 (Kania is pictured at right when he received the award, with his wife, Kristin, and Gov. Scott Walker).
As every educator is unique, we wanted to hear why these financial education topics continue to carry such value for Kania’s classroom. Here is a condensed Q&A conducted via email, with our questions in italics:
Why do you think it’s so important for your students at Nicolet to learn about credit and personal finance through our programs?
Kania: Hearing everything from one source, such as a teacher, gets old. SecureFutures offers a fresh face with expertise on financial topics.
As you’ve had our volunteers and programs at different schools (he had a previous stint through MPS), can you explain what it brings to the class and curriculum from an educator perspective?
Kania: It brings a break more so than anything else from our normal routine. I’m able to count on the presenter delivering the content the students need. It’s a refresher for everyone.
Is there an interaction or two from the last few years that stands out from these programs?
Kania: We’ve had the pleasure of having David Navarre come in for the last three years. He goes above and beyond expectations bringing the kids treats and getting them involved.
Is there a personal financial or financial literacy mandate/expectation at Nicolet?
Kanai: Unfortunately, no. I’m surprised, being one of the best schools in the state, that there isn’t. Students take the course as an elective.
Nicolet has such a good reputation. How do you describe the school and students to people not from the area or involved in education?
Kania: Nicolet is the place to work if you are in education. We’ve been recognized as a top workplace winning awards and it’s no surprise. From the students to the academics to the benefits, it’s second to none.
It seems that you’ve focused on the “To Your Credit” lesson in the last few years. Why is this one so critical to bring to your students?
Kania: This unit is quite long in my curriculum and it’s nice seeing the great overview delivered from your presentation.
What other financial education/personal finance resources do you wish teachers in Wisconsin had?
Kania: Creating awareness is critical. I have kids from all classes take a 10-minute quiz I developed (see it here) to bring awareness to the importance of being financially literate. Thirty-nine percent is the average score with just over 500 students and adults taking the quiz in the past few years.
To learn more about our volunteers, curriculum and program options, visit here.