Educator Appreciation Week is celebrated in schools across the country May 3 - 7. However, at Goodwill, we strive to celebrate our educators throughout the entire year.Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana sincerely thanks the educators who continue to make a difference in students’ and families’ lives. Nearly 400 teachers and education support staff are employed in Goodwill’s education division, which includes The Excel Center® and Indianapolis Metropolitan High School.
From navigating new Zoom lessons to driving students to doctor appointments, our educators continue to put their students’ first and serve as heroes in our communities.
“Our organization currently serves nearly 5,000 students and their families through education initiatives,” said Betsy Delgado, Vice President of Mission and Education at Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana. “Coaches, teachers, support staff, and central office teams all work tirelessly throughout the year to change student lives, as well as make a ripple effect in the lives of the generations that follow them.”
The Excel Center is Goodwill’s one-of-a-kind high school for adults. In addition to supporting adult students as they work towards earning a high school diploma, The Excel Center provides support services such as on-site child care, transportation assistance, college credit and industry-recognized certification courses – all at no cost. Since 2010, nearly 6,000 students have graduated from The Excel Center, and 99% of those graduates earned a certification or college credit.
One recent graduate, Theresa Samuels, 33, paid special tribute to The Excel Center staff when reflecting on her career achievements as an accountant:
“I honestly never thought I would be where I am today,” said Theresa. “The Excel Center not only prepared me from an educational standpoint -- I jumped into college courses with no problem -- but they gave me the confidence to pursue my dreams. They encouraged me to apply for a job that I worried I wasn’t qualified for, and now I am doing better than I could have ever imagined.”
In addition to The Excel Center, Goodwill also operates Indianapolis Metropolitan High School, a best-fit school for traditional age students who are experiencing circumstances that may present a barrier to education. Barriers may include teen pregnancy, teen parenting, involvement in foster care, homelessness, identified for special education, or involvement with criminal justice. Since 2004, Indianapolis Met has served thousands of students across Marion County and offers unique wraparound supports to ensure success, such as on-site child care, family empowerment coaching, job placement services and one-on-one support.
Senior Desiree Segraves is graduating from Indy Met in June 2021 with plans to attend Ivy Tech in the fall. Desiree, who is just 16 years old, says one of her favorite things about Indianapolis Met is its design to meet individual student needs, especially as a young mother.
“Honestly I would say that at Indy Met, you will feel inspired, motivated and welcomed. They never treated me like an outsider, like a student with a baby. They were warm and understanding. They worked around my schedule and helped me be successful,” Desiree said.
Indianapolis Met serves nearly 300 students each year and places an emphasis on ensuring students enroll in college or enter into a career that offers a living wage post-graduation.
“We have so many incredible stories about how our staff members change the lives of those they serve,” said Delgado. “That’s why educator appreciation does not just last one week at Goodwill. We would like to acknowledge the amazing work being done at our schools all throughout the year. It truly is remarkable the lengths they will all go to serve our students and their families.”
To learn more about Goodwill’s high schools, visit goodwillindy.org/education.