HSFPP Stories of Impact

Empowering Students to See Their Potential Beyond Their Current Reality

HSFPP Stories of Impact

real teachers real stories

by Christopher Brida, Math and Business, Baltimore, Md.

"When a student grows up in a poor neighborhood, financial literacy is the furthest thing from their mind. They generally are just trying to survive every day. The reason I started the financial literacy program as part of my business class was to create a wide range of “aha” moments. Enough “aha” moments develop a critical mass of students understanding financial literacy so that they can bring it back to their neighborhoods. … Teaching financial literacy to high school students in Baltimore is not just so they can be financially savvy — it’s to arm them with information that will change their communities.

… For me, there is one moment that stands out above them all. I was teaching a lesson on earning power and students were researching various cities they could move to. The moment when a student got it was when she said, "So, you mean I could actually leave Baltimore?" It's such a simple question with an incredibly powerful meaning behind it — the reality for many of my students is that they feel stuck. Their parents are from here, their grandparents are from here and none of them have ever left.

The student was completing the "Tale of 2 Cities" task and was comparing cities in California to Baltimore. "Getting it" is understanding that you aren't defined by the zip code you grow up in. Instead, understanding financial literacy is a way for my students to see that there is a world beyond our city, and they have the potential to live in that world."