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Region 15 Schools

It was a hands-on “Reality Check” to teach financial literacy to Pomperaug High School (PHS) 9th graders earlier this month. The hands-on simulated learning environment, designed to integrate career exploration, life skills, and decision-making around the realities and impact of financial decision-making, was an engaging and thought-provoking experience.

The experience began in the classroom, with lessons taught through the 9th-grade advisory class. Students worked with their classmates and advisory teachers to explore career options, brainstorming monthly budgets, and starting job salaries for entering the workforce. They selected a profession of interest, calculated their yearly salary, estimating the amount taken out for taxes, and used this information to determine a monetary amount for a starting monthly budget.

The learning then expanded to a “Reality Check” event where students toured through the PHS auxiliary gym, spending their personal monthly budget at different booths. At each booth, students spent their ‘money’ on making choices to purchase or to rent a home, buying one of three types of cars or using public transportation, buying groceries, purchasing and learning about various types of insurance (home, auto, health, life), utility expenses for water and electricity, communications (cell phone, tv/internet) expenses, clothing, vehicle maintenance and gas, charitable gifting, loan options, recreation, and even had the chance to participate in a game of chance to showcase the random things that can happen each month that can cost money or become a way to make extra money! The booths were staffed by PHS juniors and seniors currently enrolled in the Personal Finance course at PHS who helped the students select what to spend their money on and informed them of available options. 

Following the event, the students reflected with their advisory classes on their monthly budgets and engaged in discussions about two huge costs that were not presented as part of their monthly budget: the cost of college and secondary education and how to establish and build credit at a young age.

“Our hope is to give our students the opportunity to be enlightened on the costs of the real world, as it is never to early to be exposed to this kind of information!” shared Brian Jehning, Assistant Principal at PHS and coordinator of the advisory lessons.

students sit at and learn over tables with papers and pencils