Ever wondered what exactly our team of Impact Managers does every day? To help shed some light on their essential role, Andy Lovley gives an account of one of his days below. We truly could not implement the Roadmap to Success Program without the talent and dedication of our team of Impact Managers!
It’s Friday! As an Impact Manager at Education Opens Doors, that could mean a variety of things. On this Friday, it means I’m visiting Manara Leadership Academy in Irving, Texas. Manara, an open-enrollment expeditionary charter school, is in its second year partnering with EOD and implements the Roadmap to Success college knowledge curriculum weekly throughout its entire 6th-8th grade middle school.
Like most school visits, my responsibilities are to observe the Roadmap to Success lessons in action, offer feedback to teachers when and if it may be needed, and touch base with the school’s administrative point of contact. Our campus presence is routinely well-received by teachers and students alike, who often will ask for our input or experiences regarding the challenges that accompany the turbulent path through middle school to high school en route to college or career.
The morning classes in the four 7th and 8th grade rooms I observed at Manara were focused on our lesson on Professionalism. I watched with great interest as students used their Roadmap to Success student manual to outline existing networks, while sharing who they deemed worthy of their professional network (family members, classmates, neighbors) and who they hoped to one day add to this list of contacts (One Direction band members and NBA stars were frequently referenced). The lesson culminated with a discussion on the value of creating a professional virtual identity, which drew plenty of commentary from students as they collectively interpreted and critiqued acceptable online etiquette.
After a two-hour cafe break where I sent out follow-up emails to the teachers I had just observed, uploaded future lesson resources to our virtual Teacher Portal, and checked in with instructors at several Dallas schools about upcoming visits, it was time to head back to class.
Each of the four 6th grade classrooms were zeroed in on the “Introduction to Résumés” lesson. PowerPoint slides guiding the lesson led students on a multi-page scavenger hunt through the student manual where they searched for verb types and date patterns in an exemplar résumé. Upon entering my second classroom, I was immediately summoned by the teacher. Her computer was struggling to download the appropriate resources for an interactive GPA-themed game. Having observed this minor technical issue previously in another school, I delivered a few quick clicks and the lesson was back on track.
Being able to sit in and observe the same lesson tailored by multiple teachers to align with their own teaching style and student learning needs is tremendously beneficial to the evolution of our program. The yearly revisions that enhance the Roadmap to Success curriculum are a direct result from this on-site observation and direct feedback from the invested teachers who lead our lessons.
EOD strives for a mutually established trust between teacher and Impact Manager, which was exemplified beautifully on this Friday. Rather than bypass a lesson outlining the basics of résumé construction to students several years away from being employment-eligible, these 6th grade teachers trusted the Roadmap curriculum and embraced the opportunity. I witnessed engaging, inclusive instruction that emphasized to students the value in being able to document their accomplishments and experiences via the résumé, outlining its importance when applying to high schools, summer jobs, and eventually college. Bravo, Manara educators!
As I drove away from the campus, heading back to the EOD office in Dallas, I couldn’t help but smile as numerous student questions I had heard this morning bounced around my head. “What’s an acceptable GPA?” “ How can I find more people to add to my network?” “Where do I go to apply for scholarships?” For these and thousands of other deserving students that are striving to turn their college aspirations into reality, I hope that the Roadmap to Success Program inspires more of these insightful questions, and, ultimately, more answers.