Instructional videos and lesson plans from one of the top business schools in the country may soon show up in local classrooms, thanks to an all-expenses-paid seminar involving a Mercer Island High School teacher.
Kristine van der Hoeven, business and marketing teacher at Mercer Island High School, and three other teachers from Washington State were selected to attend the “Seminar on Business and Financial Responsibility” at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business in Philadelphia in late September.
The three-day, intensive learning experience at which educators deepened their knowledge and teaching skills about financial literacy and business and networked with like-minded teachers across the nation, to discuss best practices and create new connections. The seminar was co-sponsored by Wharton and accounting firm Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) and was held on the school’s West Philadelphia campus.
Van der Hoeven said she returned to MIHS and shared teaching resources and educational videos on the subjects of credit, debt, budgeting and banking with the math and Career & Technical Education departments to integrate into both career and academic classes.
"They are a lot more relevant and fun for students than the textbooks on the market," van der Hoeven said. "Also, based on national research that there is a direct correlation between teaching these topics and reduced bankrupcy, lower debt and higher savings rates."
Due to Price Waterhouse Coopers’ recent pledge of $160 million to advance youth education and financial literacy in the U.S. over the next five years, PwC covered the airfare, hotel accommodations, conference costs and meals for all attendees.
Among the highlights, teachers attended customized sessions taught by Wharton professors and PwC executives on topics such as finance and investing, leadership, managing people, marketing and branding, strategy and negotiation.
Van der Hoeven said the top highlights of the trip was spending a few days with teachers from across the country in an intellectually challenging environment, and attending a seminar on Organizational Psychology by Wharton Professor Adam Grant about personality, leadership and financial responsibility.
"There is a direct link between character, financial stability and success in the workplace," she said.
Two keynote speakers were Rosie Rios, current United States Treasurer appointed by President Obama; and Annamaria Lusardi, Denit Trust Distinguished Scholar in Economics and Accountancy at The George Washington University School of Business.
The teachers were also offered free access to engaging, research-based curricula in 18 different subject areas that can be immediately used in classrooms.
Shannon Schuyler, PwC's Corporate Responsibility Leader said the seminar illustrated how successful partnerships can be formed between educational institutions, government and the private sector.
"(We want) to prepare students to make wise and informed financial choices in a 21st century economy.”