Financial Literacy in High School — Wharton Initiative Acts Locally and Thinks Globally

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Philadelphia — The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania’s Knowledge@Wharton High School (KWHS) is responding to the challenge posed by both local and global leaders to improve financial literacy and workforce development among teenage students.

This summer, KWHS is hosting a free Business, Entrepreneurship & Leadership Program for 140 high school students from across more than 30 different schools in Philadelphia, Pa. The program’s curriculum, which will consist of approximately 400 lesson plans, will be made available in mid-August — at no cost — to teachers around the world who access the KWHS website (

The program will provide Philadelphia high school students with a fun environment in which to expand their knowledge of key business subjects, such as career development, accounting, economics, marketing, finance and entrepreneurship. “Whether they are conscious of the fact or not, students are exposed to business in almost every aspect of their daily lives, so it is important to enhance their financial literacy,” says Robbie Shell, managing director of Knowledge@Wharton, a network of global online business publications that includes KWHS. At the conclusion of the program, students will have an opportunity to participate in a business plan competition where they will pitch their innovative ideas to potential investors and industry leaders.

Most of the students who are participating in the program are from the Philadelphia School District. “We are excited that this program will help our talented high school students develop the skills necessary not only to be business leaders in their local communities, but also in the global business community,” says Penny Nixon, the School District of Philadelphia’s associate superintendent of schools. “In addition, we believe that these lesson plans will be a valuable resource to our teachers.”

The lesson plan development has been a joint effort between a team of former teachers who are now doctoral students at the University of Pennsylvania and a group of undergraduate students from the Wharton School. In addition, KWHS has teamed with Scott Stimpfel, co-founder of Resources for Educational and Employment Opportunities, to develop and manage the summer program. “The KWHS summer program will provide a challenging and exciting environment for students to explore business,” says Stimpfel.

KWHS will also seek input on lesson plan content from students who participate in the program as well as high school teachers. “We want to create a learning tool that will help facilitate financial literacy across the world. Therefore, it is critical to our success that we receive input from teachers, students and business leaders,” says Diana Drake, editor of KWHS.

The lesson plans are not just for business teachers. Most of the lesson plans will include Common Core State Standards in both mathematics and English language arts. As a result, teachers will be able to illustrate concepts in subjects like algebra through everyday business examples.

Knowledge@Wharton High School is the newest addition to the global Knowledge@Wharton network. KWHS is an online business journal for high school students around the world who are interested in exploring all the ways that business touches their lives. The site, available in both Spanish and English, features articles about teen-run companies, business trends and concepts, and career choices. Audio and video podcasts spotlight creative and colorful business leaders in all fields, from sports and entertainment to retail and hi-technology. New content is added every few days, and the site has a first-of-its-kind video glossary of more than 200 business terms defined by Wharton professors.

The KWHS Teachers’ Room offers — in addition to lesson plans — resource listings and teacher blogs, all designed to encourage teachers to discover and share insights about high school business education.

Held on the University of Pennsylvania campus, the program offers two sessions: July 5- July 22 or July 25 – August 11. Courses are five days a week (Mon.-Fri.), and students attend either half-day or full-day courses.

The lesson plans will be online in the KWHS Teachers’ Room following the second session. Each lesson plan will incorporate at least one article from the Knowledge@Wharton network.

About the Wharton School and Knowledge@Wharton

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania— founded in 1881 as the first collegiate business school — is recognized globally for intellectual leadership and ongoing innovation across every major discipline of business education. The most comprehensive source of business knowledge in the world, Wharton bridges research and practice through its broad engagement with the global business community. The School has more than 5,000 undergraduate, MBA, executive MBA, and doctoral students; more than 9,000 annual participants in executive education programs; and an alumni network of 88,000 graduates.

Knowledge@Wharton is a free biweekly online resource that captures knowledge generated at the Wharton School and beyond through such channels as research papers, conferences, speakers, books, and interviews with faculty and other business experts on current business topics. For more information: