Tim Goodwin EDL '12

For many Hartford teens, the road to graduation is marked by hardship. Obstacles such as pregnancy, violence in their communities and personal tragedy can impact a student's ability to keep up with classwork and graduate on time.

Tim Goodwin EDL '12 is leading a new initiative that aims to turn this trend around. A public school teacher for 15 years, Goodwin is now the dean of students at the Student Success Center at Weaver High School in Hartford, Conn., which houses the Culinary Arts and the Hartford Journalism & Media academies.

The center, funded by a five-year grant, is taking a new approach to helping at-risk students graduate high school. It offers a blended learning environment and provides counseling and other support services to students.

"The Student Success Center makes it attractive and possible to graduate high school and go on to college or career," says Goodwin. "In the short time that I've been here, I've tried to create a climate that builds a sense of team and family. Students who come to the center feel like they're part of something."

In his new role, Goodwin is working to improve the climate for students and teachers and positively impact students' chances for success by providing unique opportunities to keep students engaged in school. In November, the students planned, cooked and hosted a community luncheon at the school. Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra spoke at the event. "It was very cool to see him come out and share his story," says Goodwin. "He dropped out of school and found an alternative way to succeed. These students haven't dropped out, but they certainly have taken a different route. It was great that they were able to hear his story."

While completing his sixth-year diploma in educational leadership at Quinnipiac, Goodwin was working in the nonprofit sector as the founding executive director of the Hartford Youth Scholars Foundation and the founding executive director of the Community Farm of Simsbury. While at CFS, Goodwin instituted programs where students learned about sustainable agricultural systems in a dynamic, hands-on environment.

"At the farm, I was able to connect my coursework at Quinnipiac directly to my professional experiences," says Goodwin. "For instance, our coursework covered developing standards based and relevant curriculum, working with diverse groups of students, and managing budgets. All my work at Quinnipiac was directly related to the work I was doing at the farm. I was able to collaborate with teachers and students in my EDL classes about ideas and issues I was navigating as executive director. Several successful ideas were hatched in Quinnipiac classrooms."

His current position draws on the leadership skills he learned at Quinnipiac, the creative approaches to learning that he honed at the farm and his classroom experience in Simsbury and Hartford. This blend of different skills and experiences is helping him and his colleagues in the Success Center transform the educational experience for Hartford teens. He believes the center can serve as a national model for educational reform.

"I want to establish a rigorous academic climate where students learn success oriented values and have the opportunity to reach their full potential," said Goodwin.

December 2012
 

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