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ESUMS Students Earning College Credits from Wharton

This semester, 13 ESUMS high school students are enrolled in Essentials of Personal Finance, a course offered by the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. They are taking the class via Zoom and will earn college credits, as well as an academic credential that speaks to their readiness for college-level work.

The course is offered through the National Education Equity Lab, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to bring college credit-bearing courses from top universities to students in historically underserved communities.

“We talk about equity, but how does it move from rhetoric to reality?” asked Medria Blue-Ellis, principal of Engineering and Science University Magnet School. “That’s something I am really interested in as a principal.

“Having my students learn about personal finance is really, really important to me,” Blue-Ellis added. “In this country, we’ve got an income gap that is ridiculous. We can fight about the indignities, but really we have to do something about creating a more just and equitable society, so this class is near and dear to my heart.” 

ESUMS has offered two National Education Equity Lab courses annually for the past two years. Students earned course credits from Columbia and the University of Connecticut.

Blue-Ellis is pleased that the Wharton course features mathematics. “Sometimes when we think about STEM, we forget about the mathematics and how much it interfaces with so many different subjects,” she said. “So, for example, these students are also learning about business and the economy.”

Students in the class are looking forward to December 10, when teaching assistants from the personal finance class will visit them in person at ESUMS. The teaching assistants are graduate students who support the professor by grading work and meeting regularly with students.

Founded in 2019, Ed Equity Lab has grown rapidly, now operating in 90 cities and 32 states around the country. By the end of this school year, it will have offered classes to 8,000 students from Title 1 high schools—those where at least 40 percent of students qualify for free or reduced lunch.

Blue-Ellis hopes to see more New Haven high school students have opportunities to enroll. “My students and their parents are so excited because they are taking a class at the Wharton School of Business,” she said. “They are getting college credit from a wonderful school, and they are understanding how huge that is.”