Brian Page, financial education teacher at Reading High School, is passionate about teaching students the skills they need to manage their finances well. He says his career combines both of his passions: teaching and finance. Those interests have led him to develop Reading's financial literacy program into an innovative course that students love. His efforts have even contributed to creating a personal finance course that is required for graduation, and that meets the requirements necessary to serve as a course at the University of Cincinnati.
Not only is Page a popular and innovative teacher at his school, he has also served on the Ohio Commission of Personal Finance Education and the Financial Literacy Implementation Committee. Plus, he has helped train educators at Ohio Teacher's Academy how to better engage students in personal finance lessons.
To sum up the impact of Brian Page's course on students at Reading High School, his colleague John Morris says, "Brian is an outstanding teacher. He is consistently looking for new materials and innovative ways to engage students; asking himself, how do I get them interested in this content?" Morris, who works at the University of Cincinnati's Economics Center for Education & Research, has worked closely with Page on Ohio legislation promoting financial education requirements, and on implementing financial literacy curricula.
Morris can't say enough about Brian Page's drive to serve his students well. He says that students in Page's class are learning firsthand that "you can drive your own destiny with the right financial decisions." Along with Practical Money Skills' financial education curricula and Financial Soccer and Financial Football video games, Page has organized a collection of financial literacy books for his students to borrow, a classroom resource center, recommended Podcasts, and an "in the news" area of his classroom with the latest financial literacy news—fed from his Twitter account. His Twitter feed is geared entirely toward students and other financial education teachers.
His students also participate in numerous simulations, including a game he developed: Awesome Island. The Awesome Island Game requires students to create simulated real-life budgets that begin at age 20 and require revision every five years. They make decisions about everything from investments to which car they'll buy. Students with the highest "net worth" at the end of the exercise end up in Awesome Island, an imaginary place where you can have anything you want. Those with an average net worth end up on It's Ok Island, and those who've made financial missteps and have a low net worth land on Everything's Lame Island. The game is available at www.awesomeislandgame.com.
Page's next project, set to begin this spring, will require students to write financial articles for other teens. About the project, he says, "having students create articles consistent with the financial literacy curriculum creates the high order thinking skills necessary to engrain lifelong learning."
As for the impact on students, Brian recounts stories of former students who have returned after graduation to tell him that they've started a 401k, bought a house and are renting it out, or have successfully avoided inappropriate debt. As for why he thinks his program is so successful, Page mentions the incredible community, administrative and parental support, and his relationship with the UC's Economic Center. He says, "Finance is unique in that you're trying to shape students' behavior so they can save, spend, and invest consistently with their own values and goals. And they see the value in it." No doubt having a passionate teacher and engaging financial literacy lessons, projects and games are motivating factors as well.
Practical Money Skills commends Brian Page for his efforts and commitment to financial literacy education at Reading High School.