By Maxwell Akuamoah-Boateng
December 2, 2016
Maxwell serves as Madison High School’s mathematics and science teacher. A OneGoal Program Director, his Year 1 cohort is beginning to make the connection on how investments in their education today can lead them to achieve their highest ambitions, including earning a college degree. Here he gives us a glimpse into his experience.
OG: Why did you choose to work with OneGoal?
MA: I became a OneGoal Program Director because of my students. They would often share with me their challenges with life and their future ambitions. I realized that throughout the school year, my students were missing out on opportunities, not for lack of interest, but because of a lack of understanding and exposure. Having been influenced by my mentors and their experiences, I was determined to find an avenue to help my students maximize their trajectory. Through OneGoal, I can now dedicate an entire class period, rather than a few minutes here and there, to helping my students reach one of the most crucial stepping stones for their success: a college degree.
OG: Describe your relationship with your cohort.
MA: Our relationship is simply tight! We have been able to successfully create an interdependent environment where everyone is comfortable enough to express their thoughts, feelings and ideas. We’ve worked hard to create a transparent environment where we are honest and we engage in a lot of dialogue. We also have fun: we enjoy being creative, we even have sing-a-longs on bus trips!
OG: How has working with OneGoal impacted your students and yourself?
MA: Working with OneGoal has made my students feel like they matter and empowered them to seek out avenues to improve their performance, academically and socially. As a Program Director, I have the tools to help students connect how success of long-term goals, such as graduating from college, depends on the investment of short-term goals, like improving one’s GPA. The program has also helped me learn how to give students a platform for them to explore and express their voice/concerns in a world where they are misunderstood as well as uncertain.
OG: What have you found to be the most helpful for you in this Program Director role?
MA: My understanding of the college application and selection process is crucial for me to truly serve my students as a Program Director. Understanding how to use OneGoal’s college application tools has helped me guide my students in developing strong portfolios and gathering pertinent information to support their college decision making process.
OG: What have been the greatest and most challenging parts about OneGoal?
MA: It has been challenging for my Fellows to remain focused in order to meet the academic goals OneGoal helped them set. Issues arise that challenge my students often, whether that be a quarrel with another student, a confrontation with a teacher, or domestic challenges. These obstacles have been a distraction for some of my students. However, being a part of the OneGoal cohort has helped them find the grit to overcome these obstacles.
Dr. Tim Renick is a founding member of OneGoal Metro Atlanta's Board of Directors. As Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Success at Georgia State University, he joins OneGoal with a deep understanding of the obstacles facing students from low-income communities and the interventions needed to help them succeed in college.( )
What I’m excited about right now is just getting to college. I recently went on a college tour and just being on campus, it finally hit me that this is real. I’m going to be here soon.( )
On Nov. 2016, we spoke with Kacie Martinez, a OneGoal - Chicago Year 2 Fellow and Prosser Career Academy senior, about getting accepted to college and planning for the road ahead. Since recording these thoughts, Kacie has been accepted to Bradley University and University of Illinois at Chicago.( )
"Meeting more and more kids and their families and helping them through the daunting college preparation process is something I didn’t know I would enjoy so much when I began this OneGoal journey and has now become the greatest joy for me."( )