Cristo Rey Columbus High School is eight-months-in implementing a new financial literacy curriculum, thanks to a partnership with Columbus wealth management firm, Budros, Ruhlin & Roe.
Students are already seeing great benefits in applying lessons to real-life situations at home.
“The engagement among the students has been incredible,” noted Cristo Rey HS Economics Teacher Amy Zalimas. “I’ve seen a complete transformation in the way they view credit cards and debt once they do the math of how much they’re actually paying for something if they buy it that way. As an example, one student just proudly told me he is ready to pay cash for his first car, which is one of the five foundations we covered.”
“When we tell people what we do, so many say they wished they were taught about how to manage personal finances at a much earlier age,” Budros, Ruhlin & Roe Co-CEO John Schuman said. “We knew it was important to integrate our passion for helping families find financial confidence with our community outreach efforts in Columbus, and this was a logical investment.”
The firm developed a committee to review high school prospectus packages and found a resource with topics including saving, debt, budgeting, investing, insurance, careers, taxes and giving, available in video and electronic modules. Budros, Ruhlin & Roe recognized that funding turnkey curriculum would lead to the greatest student and teacher experience.
“Our school is founded on the belief that it’s our job to take students from dependent learners to independent thinkers,” Cristo Rey Columbus President Joe Patrick explained. “The ability to teach this curriculum is in perfect alignment and has sparked very important conversations that very few of us even had at home growing up.”
Budros, Ruhlin & Roe made a multi-year funding commitment to Cristo Rey Columbus.
Cristo Rey started the coursework this past Fall with its high school juniors and Patrick knows this will have a long-term impact on the students and their families. “Providing confidence in personal financial concepts goes well beyond college prep and gives a vision for success once they’re out of school and responsible for their own financial security.”
“Right now, we are talking about taxes,” Zalimas explained. “Several students who didn’t have to file because they are 17 and don’t make enough decided to file anyway and learned they are receiving money back this year. They would have never done this if we weren’t talking about it in class.”
Zalimas has seen a transformation in the way the students look at purchases and appreciate how it’s become a part of family conversations as well. “Many students have recently come to me sharing that they’re no longer fooled by cell phone contracts. One explained proudly that she talked her mom out of such a plan when they got their new phones.”
The discussions with parents and siblings are an unforseen benefit of the financial literacy program. “So often, what is being taught seems like common sense, but it is only common if we talk about it. I’m so proud of how these students have applied what they’re learning in their daily decisions,” Zalimas said.