GROTON, CT (WFSB) -- A high school in Groton is making sure students are making the grade, by making bank.

They are preparing teens for the real world, and offering a crash course on cash.

At Ella Grasso Southeastern Technical High School, some would say teacher Steve Russell’s 11th grade class is priceless.

“I’m grateful for this course because now I know what I should do and what I should not do,” said student Naya Peck.

The students are learning the do’s and don’ts of finance, like managing income, doing taxes, and understanding different types of insurance.

“It’s super important for my students to know this so that way when they go in the real world, they know the way money operates,” said Russell, who adds that setting yourself up for success starts with saving.

One of the first lessons for students is talking to their parents about setting up a savings account.

He encourages students to try to put away $500 in an emergency fund.

“Especially for juniors, we are starting to turn 16, we are starting to get jobs and it’s important to know how to manage our money and I think its super important that we are learning this now instead of later in life,” said Mireyja Pratt, a junior.

Students are also learning that they’ll be more financially secure if they are planning for retirement early.

“If they start putting their money away now when they are 18 into a Roth IRA, that they can retire millionaires and they had never known they could retire millionaires and how easy that is for them to do,” Russell said.

He adds that he learned the hard way and was strapped with student loans and credit card bills, until recently paying it off.

He adds that his struggle with debt is a valuable lesson for his students.

The curriculum is a Dave Ramsey course and Russell secured a grant so he could teach it to his students.

“Our students know everything about chemistry and biology, but they don’t know how to write a check. They don’t know what to do when they get their first paycheck, they don’t know how to handle money,” Russell said.

Russell started this class at the high school last year and says so far, it’s been a big success. He hopes someday it will be standard in every high school.

Copyright 2019 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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