When Dustin Goldie talks about teaching, his voice rises and his face brightens. He loves being a teacher.
But when Goldie was first put in charge of the brand new Kings Local School District employability program, in Kings Mill, Ohio, he worried that he might be spending a lot of time on curriculum.
“It’s all important,” he said. “Classes don’t create themselves. But I wanted to be spending my time building relationships with the kids, focusing on field trips, and developing the hands-on experiences.”
These days, Goldie said he has time to do that and more. He credits Graduation Alliance’s employability skills curriculum, which introduces students to a diversity of careers and help them build the hard and soft skills they need to enter those fields.
“The curriculum is rock solid,” he said. “I don’t have to go in and modify or change anything, because it’s sound. That allows me to do what I truly want to be doing as a teacher. This program allows me to dive into the relationships part. It gives me so much more time to practice the art of being a teacher.”
Graduation Alliance officials are happy to hear that, but there’s a big caveat.
“We built something, and we think it’s something good,” said Graduation Alliance’s chief academic officer and co-founder, Rebekah Richards. “But it’s sort of like a musical instrument — it’s all about the way it’s played — and it is so incredibly satisfying to see people like Mr. Goldie using this program, and his own creativity and passion, in a way that is resulting in amazing educational experiences for his students.”
Goldie started with one employment skills class. By the next semester he had two. “But, quite frankly, because of that relationships part, word is getting out. And I fully expect this to continue to grow.”
Goldie said one of his favorite experiences with his employability skills students came after watching a video about failure.
“You know, kids tend to think failure in anything is the end,” he said. “But this video talked about failure as a beginning. And afterward, we all started talking about failure, and I told them, ‘let me tell you about a time I failed,’ and after that, these students opened up and started to relax. They started talking about their own failures and sharing their stories.”
In moments like that, Goldie said, his concerns about the challenges of building a new program have been completely alleviated.
“I feel like I’m doing a good job,” he said, “and that’s what I owe these kids. That’s everything to me.”
Graduation Alliance partners with school districts, workforce agencies and various other organizations to help create alternative paths for individuals who need flexibility and support to earn a diploma. To learn more about our services, or to contact us, simply click here.