Education Opens Doors and its student manual Roadmap to Success evolved from the passion and efforts of several Teach for America alumni and education pioneers, led by the vision of a young entrepreneur with a heart for students.
In 2009, Jayda Batchelder was assigned by Teach for America to teach 8th grade at a Title I School. She witnessed first-hand an immense knowledge gap in regards to the readiness of middle school students to navigate high school in order to graduate and attend a college or start a career. Among her district’s high schoolers, 48% of graduating students took the SAT or ACT. Of those 48%, only 13% achieved scores that deemed them college-ready.
In October of 2010, Batchelder visited some of her former students, anticipating stories of their success beyond her classroom. As she spoke with them however, it became clear that content mastery alone had not adequately prepared them for high school success. They lacked the resources and guidance to keep them on track. She looked for a tool that would address their gaps in skills and college knowledge, but could not find a practical, in-depth resource to meet their needs.
Realizing the intensity of the problem, and moved by the personal stories of her former students, Batchelder spearheaded the development of a guide for students, called Roadmap To Success. This handbook is the hands-on evidence of the mission of Education Opens Doors: empowering students to strategically navigate through high school to college. It is every middle and high school student’s dream come true – a step-by-step guide full of checklists and resources to get them where they want to go after they graduate. Batchelder and her colleagues utilized the student handbook in real classrooms during its development, getting timely and specific feedback from students who saw the immediate results of using the book – a real hope for their own future.
Batchelder received a $5,000 award from Texas Instruments in June of 2012. This award, in conjunction with other financial and professional community support, enabled her dream of founding Education Opens Doors to become a reality. She knew it would be more beneficial to leave her classroom of 120 students to provide this pivotal resource and align a program that serves a larger population of at-risk students.
Today, Education Opens Doors is implementing the Roadmap to Success Program in 175 classrooms across the Dallas area. Teachers are utilizing the student handbook to give middle and high school students a chance at success – a guide to help them be intentional about where they want to go next – strategically navigating their way to college.