Education Opens Doors recently hosted a site visit at L.V. Stockard Middle School, where the Roadmap to Success began! Site visits are a way for donors, potential partners and community members to visit a school that implements the Roadmap to Success and see the program in action. Guests also have the opportunity to speak to students, teachers and administrators of the program to hear about their experiences and get a first-hand account of the assets and some of the challenges they face on their campus.
Mr. Varrassi, the principal at Stockard, kicked off the day by discussing his role on campus (he is in his second year as principal), how the Roadmap to Success is implemented and some other middle school highlights.
He also talked about the feeder high school that Stockard feeds into and the Business Technology program offered there. Education Opens Doors Founding Executive Director Jayda Batchelder shared some of her personal story and the history of Education Opens Doors at Stockard, the school where she taught as a Teach for America corps member and where the Roadmap to Success was originally conceived.
One of the best things about a site visit is getting to hear from students themselves. We tell the story of Education Opens Doors proudly, but our students make the program come alive. At Stockard we had six students join us for a panel discussion. Alejandra shared that math isn’t really her thing, but after starting the program she learned how much of each subject she would need in her career and it’s helped motivate her to turn her assignments in on time. Cassey talked about how the Roadmap to Success has pushed her to stay in her pre-AP classes so she can be ahead when she gets to high school. Several of the students are planning to apply to high schools of choice; they all have big dreams, from being a dance teacher or veterinarian to pursuing electrical engineering and law.
Following the student panel, we visited two classrooms and observed two lessons in action: “Why Go to College” and “Paying for College.” In both classrooms guests were able to wander around and view the lesson in action, engage with students and observe what the Roadmap to Success curriculum looks like in person.
Our campus team closed the day strong with a stakeholder panel where teacher-advocate Ms. Stone was joined by 7th grade Assistant Principal Ms. Bachlet Smith and Stockard’s impact manager, Sandra Godina. Ms. Smith’s words describing the culture shift on the Stockard campus were very powerful. Because of the conversations that students are having as a part of the program, the 7th graders now have a mindset that “I know I can go to college.” This increased aspiration is a huge part of why Education Opens Doors exists, and it was exciting to hear about the impact happening at Stockard. Many thanks to the entire team at L.V. Stockard Middle School for a great day!