When a student first attends Woodward Academy, the focus is on their behavior and what they had done to get themselves adjudicated. As time goes by, and the student works their program, the focus of what they had done in their past shifts to what they are going to do after they leave campus. Exit planning for students often begins months before the student is actually ready to leave. It can include helping them rebuild relationships with family members, equipping them with problem solving skills for scenarios that may take place, and establishing an academic plan for their arrival. Sometimes students do not return home, but rather go on to live on their own after WA. For these students, exit planning is particularly important to help them get positioned for success. This was the case with Jaime who recently left.
It was anticipated that Jaime would attend Woodward Academy until he discharged into the real world. He was fantastic on campus, a leader in a lot of ways, and he gained many of the benefits that positive Knights receive. Because of his hard work, Jaime accomplished a lot and set himself up for success upon leaving. During his time on campus, Jaime earned his high school diploma, and afterwards worked on campus. As a student worker, he was able to earn a couple thousand dollars that he took with him when he left. He set up a bank account and gained an understanding of how to manage money and use a debit card. He also attended a 30-hour welding class at the Des Moines Area Community College during his stay, which qualified him to be a welding assistant.
When it was time to go, Jaime received some bonus exit planning. Jon Shelness, Educational Liaison at Woodward Academy, drove him to Ohio and together they spent a couple days getting this set up. They visited the Job Corps recruiting office in Columbus as well as the Columbus State Community College where they met with an adviser. They filled out some job applications and together toured the neighborhood to get him acquainted with the area. Whatever happened in his past, Jaime was a great student on campus who exhibited sincerity and a strong work ethic. We are happy to have helped him pave a road toward his bright future.