The Institute, generously funded by a lead gift from Rusty and Rene Johnson as well as other donations made at the 50th anniversary gala, isn’t a stand-alone program, but rather classes and experiences woven throughout the curriculum starting in kindergarten. It’s an engaging, dynamic, and fun way to bring real-world financial skills to Stuart girls.

“Our goal is to graduate financially literate, capable, and competent women able to lead Fortune 500 companies should they so choose,” said Director of Strategic Initiatives Rose Wong. “We already have faculty with strong finance, economic, and mathematics backgrounds to launch this groundbreaking institute.”

Stuart parents enthusiastically support the institute. In fact, the seed was planted when a few parents from the financial sector remarked their children didn’t really understand what they do for a living.

Lower School Curriculum Coordinator Susan Beshel notes the initiative was an organic extension of the curriculum, as finance concepts are built into every grade from kindergarten through grade 12.

“We take our youngest students from identifying and counting money, to running their own kindergarten cafe,” she added. “Third graders create budget proposals and needs/wants assessments to choose a charity beneficiary for their fundraiser. Next year we’ll be looking at service learning: how we can change society with the money raised.”

Middle School students begin to integrate concepts into the bigger picture through trimester finance classes at every grade level. Wong notes this is cross-disciplinary approach, incorporated in social studies, mathematics, and school clubs.

Senior student Jessica Kosek has taken two of the trimester courses and can’t wait for the third. In Personal Finance, she learned how to design a business, which gave her a better appreciation for her mother’s hard work running the family farm.

“It was a great experience as I had no previous knowledge of economics,” she explained. “I never even considered the amount of work, thought, and spreadsheets that go into running our family’s business.”

Kosek currently is taking Microeconomics and learning supply and demand, how price changes in one sector resonate throughout the economy, and lessons on the stock market. She says the interactive conversations between teachers and students make it a fascinating and exciting subject: using math skills in new ways. Her next stop? Macroeconomics and understanding the global economy.

“We develop good global leaders at Stuart,” Wong added. “This is just another way our young women graduate prepared to make a difference in the world.”

Stuart, an all-girls, K-12 school with a co-ed preschool, prepares young women for lives of exceptional leadership and service through a challenging and innovative curriculum, superb teaching and close attention to each girl’s personal development. Learn more at or by calling 609-921-2330.

Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart, 1200 Stuart Road, Princeton. 609-921-2330.

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