Innovation, Student Loans, the Accounting Profession and Financial Hot Topics Energize Educators in Chicago

by Diana Drake

No. 10 is in the books!

The KWHS team just returned from three days in Chicago, Ill., following our latest PwC-KWHS Seminar for High School Educators on Business and Financial Responsibility at the University of Chicago’s Gleacher Center, August 1-3, 2016. This was our 10th seminar in partnership with sponsor PwC, during which some 80 high school educators from primarily the Midwest spent three days deepening their knowledge and resources related to personal finance and business.

Chicago Tribune columnist Gail MarksJarvis led a kick-off discussion about financial literacy trends and challenges with experts Lauren Dupont, a high school business educator from New Jersey, and Jim Kolar, the managing partner of PwC’s Greater Chicago market.

Throughout the seminar, Wharton professors and PwC executives and colleagues presented on a wide variety of topics, including innovation, the psychology of personal finance, the digital-age college search, the accounting profession and student loans.

Many of the teacher attendees, who were literally prepping for the start of classes in the next few days, left with an abundance of resources and new relationships to leverage throughout the school year.

“The most valuable thing to me has been the networking portion and learning about the new resources that will make my profession easier and my transition to a new school easier,” said Rebecca Bryson, who is moving this year for the first time in more than a decade from Hillcrest High School to Memphis Academy of Science & Engineering in Memphis, Tenn. In addition to her specialty of personal finance, she will now also be tackling economics education. “At first I was uncomfortable with the thought of teaching a new subject, until I met teachers here who have been teaching in that area for a long time. They were very friendly and willing to share their resources.”

Accounting teacher Vicki Spellerberg from Maquoketa Valley High School in Delhi, Iowa, is excited to share insights about the accounting profession with her students. “I appreciated Natasha [Granholm’s] comments about the fact that the accounting profession is much more flexible and family-oriented. I’m going to try to encourage kids to think about accounting as a profession.” Granholm, one of the seminar’s main speakers, is an asset management tax partner at PwC.

Jessica Sanchez, a social studies and personal finance teacher at Bogan High School in Chicago, was excited to learn about new digital tools available through PwC and KWHS. “My school is one-to-one, meaning each student has a Chrome book,” said Sanchez. “They have access to go to places like the KWHS website. I could see myself using that in the classroom. The digital resources are great.” Sanchez added that she also deepened her own understanding of personal finance concepts and gained valuable insights to pass along to her students.

Daniel Santos, a business teacher from John Adams High School in South Bend, Indiana, echoed many of his colleagues when he praised the grateful tone of the three-day program. “So much was paid for and provided to us [by PwC]. That’s rare,” noted Santos. “I feel that it’s not just important for our students to feel appreciated, but also the teachers. Right now, with little funding in the schools, there’s not a lot of money to send us to conferences and to do professional development. We feel underappreciated. This seminar helped us feel affirmed.”

For more information about this week’s PwC-KWHS Seminar for High School Educators in Chicago, visit Direct your questions to