Stephanie Mills, a financial literacy teacher at South Warren High School (Warren County) has been named the 2018 Financial Literacy Teacher of the Year by the Kentucky Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy.
Mills’ award includes a $300 grand prize for classroom materials or training, which she has worked to increase through Donors Choose. The Kentucky Jump$tart Coalition also paid for Mills to attend the Jump$tart National Educator Conference in Cleveland. This was the third time she attended the national professional development event.
Mills incorporates a variety of teaching techniques and curriculum materials to reach students of different learning styles. She uses interactive activities, guest speakers, video clips and more to teach her students how to apply the skills they learn in real life.
“It is important to incorporate supplementary resources and advice from financial experts into the class. Not only should the students understand the content, they must learn how to apply it to their personal finances. By providing multiple styles of learning, I strive to prepare each student for the real world,” Mills said. “When former students express how they utilized the information, it reassures me about the importance of the class activities.”
Mills is serving on the Kentucky Department of Education’s Financial Literacy Standards Revision and Writing Committee to develop standards for the new financial literacy requirement in House Bill 132 (2018). The bill calls for students to complete one or more courses or programs that meet financial literacy standards prior to graduation, starting with freshmen entering high school in the 2020-2021 school year.
“I’m extremely excited about the financial literacy requirement and serving on the standards committee,” she said. “I believe a required course for each state could improve our financial situation. High school students should learn the necessary knowledge and skills to become financially stable adults prior to graduation. It is heartbreaking to teach that 70 percent of Americans are living from paycheck to paycheck. In order to lower that statistic, we must educate the youth and raise awareness about personal finance.”