Madison Juniors Start the Day with Money on Their Minds

FacebookLinkedInTwitterEvery junior at one Madison high school had the chance to raise their financial I.Q. from a new, widespread partnership.

La Follette High School on the city’s east side came up with a novel use of its first-period advisory classroom time to cover a financial education requirement from the Madison Municipal School District. Local volunteers from Make A Difference – Wisconsin led Money Sense lessons on banking, checking, credit and saving during the nearly hour-long advisory class time for 376 students. All juniors at La Follette started their school day with the financial fundamental lessons, which were held in December.

Typically, the advisory classroom time is reserved for speakers or studying. Educators at La Follette commented on the high level of engagement from the volunteer-led Money Sense lessons. Here’s an anecdotal sample of student takeaways from that first day:

Diamond got into a mini-debate with her friend about what qualifies as a variable expense. No one “needs Air Jordan” shoes, she said. And if you don’t have any savings, there aren’t a lot of good options, especially if you’re young.

“If you’re out of money, you can’t retire!,” Diamond said to the class.

Alex was one of the majority of students in Steve Bartow’s class who have started their first jobs. At first, she thought of needs as something drastic, like you’d only spend “if you were going to die.” But, put into perspective, she said she now knows her expenses can be divided from the start by spending on “something you have to have.”

Juniors in a class taught by volunteer Katie McCloskey (pictured above) asked about the differences in net and gross pay, and other details in a paycheck, like FICA.

Lupe was eager to jump with examples of how saving is like paying yourself. He told volunteer Paul Vosburgh that one way he’d get in the habit of putting money aside is to think of it like a “treat” later on.

“It’s like, I’ve had a good day, so I’m going to see a nice movie.”

This expansion of Money Sense into Madison is part of a wider goal of availability across the entire state of Wisconsin. That includes Money Sense lessons on credit and loans for La Follette H.S. seniors in early 2017.

Looking to bring financial lessons and mentors into your high school classroom? Contact Rachel to see how Money Sense lessons can fit your requirements and schedule: or (414) 273-8101