It’s hard to believe one year ago this month we officially began recruitment and enrollment for The Goodwill Excel Center Adult Public Charter School.
The recruitment goals were ambitious: 2,000 applicants to fill 325 seats for our first term. Based on the model used in other markets we weren’t sure if that was achievable, but we were optimistic given there are over 60,000 adult DC residents who lack a high school diploma. Unfortunately, we must always account for attrition.
Here we are one year later having surpassed the 2,000 applicant mark months ago and well into our third term.
Sadly, we have seen some students withdraw. Going back to school was more academically challenging than a few had anticipated. For others, the time commitment was more than they could manage. But for most real life just got in the way. Returning to school as an adult is not easy. While we work individually with each student to try and mitigate the barriers that may lead to withdrawal, we are not always successful.
However, we have far more success stories than disappointments! We are excited at the retention rate and the number of students who are committed to completing their secondary education. They know their efforts will be life changing.
As one student said, “How can I look my children in the eyes and demand that they complete their education when I didn’t even complete mine? This program is not just for me, it’s also for them”.
Additionally, while we anticipate many more students meeting the qualifications to join our first graduating class this summer, we already have our first official graduate – or more accurately stated – first student to meet all the necessary graduation requirements.
His name is Andre and he came to The Excel Center because he knew his lack of a high school diploma was holding him back. One day Andre hopes to become a professional soccer player. With his secondary education complete nothing is holding him back from achieving his dreams. And Goodwill will walk beside him along the way, lifting him up if he should fall.
We have hundreds of stories like Andre’s. People who simply want to improve the quality of life for themselves and their children. The Goodwill Excel Center will help them accomplish that by providing them with the necessary education and industry credentials they need to compete in today’s highly educated workforce.
To all of you who have supported Goodwill and The Excel Center students throughout the first year of this amazing journey… thank you!