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Financial literacy course required for graduation starting next year

It is that time again to register for next year’s classes, but for the class of 2026 it will look a little different. In March of 2023, the Montana Board of Public Education approved new additions to the state’s high school graduation requirements. Starting July 1, 2025, high school students will be required to earn a half credit in both financial literacy and government courses.
Previously the state required a total of 20 credits for graduation, with 13 of those being specific courses. The new addition of financial literacy and government courses did not change the total number of credits required. Instead they are just specified under certain units. Government will fall under the two units of social studies that are required. Then for financial literacy, it can either be a part of the two units for math, the two units of social studies, or the one unit of career and technical education.
For Park High students, having government as a required course is nothing new. All students their senior year at Park High School are obligated to take a government course. While the state sets the basic requirements for graduation, each local school board has the opportunity to add on what they want. Government has already been a long time requirement because of this.
The change that will have the most impact on the class of 2026 is the half credit of financial literacy. Park High already offers three different courses that can fulfill this requirement. The three courses are economics, personal finance, and consumer math. Economics was not offered this year because of changes in staff and low requests from students. It will be offered again next year, and will most likely be taught by one of the current history teachers. There is also the option of online courses that could also satisfy the requirement, but is not the preferred option for students. “Personal finance seems to be the type of class you need to be therefore in order to get a lot out of it,” reflected career and technical educator Reid Lende.
Park High School will be making some adjustments to help students meet this new requirement. One predicted adjustment is the addition of another section of personal finance. Previously, Lende has had two sections of personal finance each year but now it is expected that he will be offering three sections in the future. Then there will also be the return of economics, which was last offered in 2022. With these adjustments, students should be able to fulfill the state’s new requirement.
The two weeks prior to spring break the school counselor, Abby Kinsey, began giving out next year’s class request forms. Each year Kinsey gives a presentation to the classes about the graduation requirements. For the class of 2026 and below she made sure to note the addition of a financial literacy course. For sophomore Annie Keyes, she is not too worried about the change. “A lot of people at Park High already end up taking one of the classes, so I am fine with it,” stated Keyes.

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Erika Haines
Erika Haines, Editor
Hello! My name is Erika Haines and I am a senior at Park High School. I have played Varsity Softball for the past three years of high school and was voted co-captain in 2023. I have also participated in Speech, Drama, and Debate for the past two years. I took fourth place at Divisionals in Original Oratory in 2023 and have qualified for state both years. I am an active member of National Honors Society too. I have interests in photography and sports media. This fall I have the honor to be media personnel at Montana State University football games. This opportunity, along with being on the Geyser staff, gives me the chance to explore the field of journalism. My father, Kevin Haines, was also a part of the Geyser staff back when he was in High School. He was a layout editor in 1985-1986. It is a pleasure to be able to continue something my father worked on all those years ago.  

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