A Great Experience for Educators at ‘All Phases of their Teaching Careers’

by Diana Drake

We promised an intensive three-day learning experience, and this past weekend did not disappoint.

Some 120 high school educators largely from the East Coast traveled to Wharton’s Philadelphia campus on December 2, 3 and 4 to attend the 11th PwC-KWHS Seminar for High School Educators on Business and Financial Responsibility. This professional development experience is designed to deepen educators’ personal finance and business education literacy and provide them with new and engaging resources for the classroom.

Wharton professor Peter Cappelli kicked off Friday’s program by presenting the research from his book, Will College Pay Off? and leading a discussion that explored the relationship between college degrees and jobs. That set the tone for three days of dynamic speakers, including Wharton’s Laura Huang on “Thinking Like an Entrepreneur,” PwC’s Joe Atkinson with insight on “The Emotional Intelligence of Leaders,” PwC’s Michael James addressing personal finance hot topics, and Wharton’s Sherryl Kuhlman on “Making a Social Impact.” Educators also attended applied learning sessions to discover practical ways to incorporate their new knowledge into the classroom, as well as sessions to share ideas and best practices. For a look at the full agenda, please visit our Philadelphia Seminar page.

Many educators commented on the weekend’s spirit of collaboration and their excitement to return to school on Monday with a renewed energy and sense of purpose for their students. “This seminar was a great experience for educators at all phases of their teaching careers,” noted Susan Lamoreau, an Academy of Business instructor at Sanford Regional Technical Center in Maine. “It doesn’t matter if we are two years into education or 30, there are always new things taking place and things that lie ahead. It is just a reminder that our field is ever-changing and how important it is to be prepared for new innovations that change our way of thinking.”

Lamoreau added that Maine is currently aligning all business standards to the National Business Education Association standards, around which KWHS lesson plans are organized. “The lessons that are provided will be invaluable tools for teachers to utilize as they are creating student learning objectives within their curriculum guides,” she said.

In addition to new ideas and tools, educators came away from the seminar strengthened in their mission as business, entrepreneurship, economics, CTE, accounting and personal finance teachers. “Financial literacy, business education, practical arts and so on are the sweet spot where we can show students where to apply what they are learning in math, language arts, science and social studies,” noted Christine GC Heinicke of James Caldwell High School in New Jersey. “Sadly, it is frequently treated as the ‘bastard step child,’ and has been cut back if not cut out of so many school districts.”

Fortified by new knowledge and connections with like-minded professionals, Heinicke and many other seminar attendees are advocating to their departments and school districts about the importance of financial and business literacy.

If you have any questions about the PwC-KWHS Seminar for High School Educators, please email us at KWHSSeminar(at)wharton.upenn.edu.