Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Washburn Rural Class Offers Wealth-Management Tactics ; Rural: College Professor Helps Plan Coursework

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Washburn Rural Class Offers Wealth-Management Tactics ; Rural: College Professor Helps Plan Coursework

Article excerpt

The new consumer and personal finance class at Washburn Rural High School isn't just teaching higher-level business concepts beyond simple money management. It also is an example of how the high school is on the front end of "blended learning" that is preparing high school students for college and career after graduation.

"It's something the state (Department of Education) wants to focus on. It's something, frankly, that students need to focus on as more and more students are going off to college and they're having to make financial decisions about investments and student loans," said Jeff Debacker, curriculum coordinator for Auburn-Washburn Unified School District 437. "A class like this can really provide a solid financial background for those students. It really lets them apply it in a real, practical manner."

The elective class that was offered for the first time this fall provides three levels of credit -- high school, career pathways and credit from the Washburn University concurrent enrollment program -- and explores credit management, investment strategies and what it takes to start a business.

Debacker said the WRHS business teachers brought the idea of the blended learning model to the attention of the USD 437 curriculum staff.

"It's something they saw that was a need," he said. "We knew it was a need but they had some connections at Washburn they were able to harness to get this off the ground."

Brian McFall, WRHS business instructor, who plans the course with Robert Hull, a professor of finance at Washburn University, said the class is "definitely more advanced" than a typical financial literacy course.

"You're looking at mutual funds and bonds, wealth management, real estate," he said. "We talk about budgeting and buying a car and house but it's at a higher level. It's making sure that rigor that the college expects."

McFall said the course reflects how the college experience is quickly evolving to be a mix of online learning and lectures and giving more control to the students in how they learn. …

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