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Academy of Finance

James Madison High School’s NAF Academy of Finance connects high school students with the world of financial services, offering a curriculum that covers entrepreneurship, banking and credit, financial planning, international finance, securities, insurance, accounting, and economics, among other topics. Graduates of the Academy of Finance complete college faster, earn more, and have stronger ties to their communities than their peers.
The Academy of Finance bridges the gap between the classroom and the workplace.  It helps students develop career skills, evaluate their own potential for success, and establish personal goals.  It provides an enriched, elective three-year comprehensive academic program for high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors.


In addition to studying career-focused curriculum and working on collaborative projects, Finance students gain critical career knowledge through a series of work-based learning experiences both inside and outside of the classroom. These activities include job shadowing, mock interviews, resume writing workshops, and culminate with a compensated internship.
In the past two years, Madison students have
  • Spent a day shadowing professionals at Ernst & Young, CPA firms, and Crowe LLP.
  • Attended trips to SIFMA, Kingsborough and Columbia’s CTE Career Day.
  • Participated in NY Exploring’s after school workshops held at Credit Suisse, Citi Personal Wealth Management and local area hospitals. Students toured facilities, had their questions answered by human resources, networked with managers and more!
  • Achieved Microsoft Office certification in Word and PowerPoint.
  • Completed an 8 week Toastmasters’ public speaking course.


The internship experience gives students a chance to gain real world, hands-on experience, make lasting professional connections, and discover more about their interest and proficiency along a specific career path.  Internship experiences are linked to students’ future career goals in order to make learning more engaging and relevant. The business partners who hire Academy students as interns benefit from the efforts of enthusiastic, prepared, and highly conscientious workers and get the chance to train and recruit future employees.
Students have the opportunity to apply for a paid 6-week internship the summer after the junior year. In the past few years, Madison Finance students have had internships at Verizon, Fitch Ratings, Moody’s, Marriott, Axciom and the NYC Board of Standards and Appeals. 

Course Descriptions

Microsoft Certification 

This is the first course students take in the Academy of Finance and introduces students to the technology skills they will need to be for a successful internship experience. Students will create resumes, cover letters and master advanced skills in Word and PowerPoint. At the end of the term, students will have the opportunity to achieve Microsoft Certification.

Principles of Finance 

This course introduces students to the financial world. Students develop financial literacy as they learn about the function of finance in society. They study income and wealth; examine financial institutions; learn how businesses raise capital; and study key investment-related terms and concepts. They also research how innovations have changed the financial services field. Finally, students explore careers that exist in finance today.

Financial Planning

Financial Planning provides students with an overview of the job of a financial planner. Students learn to consider how all aspects of financial planning might affect a potential client, and learn about the importance of financial planning in helping people reach their life goals. This course includes lessons on saving, borrowing, credit, and all types of insurance, and covers various types of investments. Students also examine careers in financial planning.

Principles of Accounting

Principles of Accounting provides students with an understanding of the accounting process and how it facilitates decision making by providing data and information to internal and external stakeholders. Students learn that accounting is an integral part of all business activities. They learn how to apply technology to accounting by creating formulas and inputting data into spreadsheets. Students also examine career opportunities and the professional certifications and designations earned by individuals in the accounting profession.

Applied Finance

Applied Finance delves into the financial concepts introduced in Principles of Finance. Students learn to identify the legal forms of business organization and continue to develop an understanding of profit. They learn about various financial analysis strategies and the methods by which businesses raise capital. Students also have the chance to explore, in depth, topics of high interest in the field of finance, and explore the types of careers that exist in finance today.

Financial Services

This course gives students an overview of banks and other financial services companies. It introduces students to the origins of money and banking and examines the early history of banking in the United States. Students study the financial services industry and the types of companies it includes in depth. They learn about the services offered by such companies and analyze the ways these companies earn profits. Finally, students examine careers in financial services.


Economics, the Enterprise System, and Finance is intended to be used to meet the curriculum mandate of the Board of Regents that requires all students to complete a half-unit course of study in economics or its equivalent as part of their four-unit social studies requirement. 

AP Macroeconomics 

AP Macroeconomics is an introductory college-level course that focuses on the principles that apply to an economic system as a whole. The course places particular emphasis on the study of national income and price-level determination; it also develops students’ familiarity with economic performance measures, the financial sector, stabilization policies, economic growth, and international economics. Students learn to use graphs, charts, and data to analyze, describe, and explain economic concepts. Taken in lieu of Economics.