Goodwill strongly believes it is essential to raise education attainment levels in Indiana. Not only are the lifetime earnings of high school graduates significantly higher than those of dropouts, children of high school graduates are 50% less likely to drop out of high school than the children of dropouts are. Goodwill provides opportunities for adults (The Excel Center) and youth (Indianapolis Metropolitan High School).
The Excel Center
The Excel Center® is operated by Goodwill Education Initiatives, Inc., a not-for-profit organization formed by Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana.
Recognizing that nearly a half million working-age Hoosiers lack a high school diploma, Goodwill opened The Excel Center for adults in 2010. The Excel Center is a tuition-free public high school for adults offering an Indiana Core 40 high school diploma.
There are currently six locations in Indianapolis — W. Michigan Street, The Meadows, Shadeland, W. 34th Street, University Heights and Decatur — and one location each in Anderson, Bloomington, Clarksville, Kokomo, Lafayette, Muncie, Noblesville, Shelbyville and Richmond.
The Excel Center currently serves more than 4,200 students annually.
- More than 70% of our students have household incomes below 185% of the federal poverty level. 70% 70%
- 81% of our students receive some form of public assistance, the average amount of which is $8,843. 81% 81%
- 53% of our students have children under age 18. 53% 53%
All of our Marion County schools are authorized by the Mayor of Indianapolis. Schools outside Indianapolis operate under charters granted by the Indiana Charter Schools Board.
Students at The Excel Center have “coaches” who help address challenges with transportation, child care, health and family situations — circumstances that can hinder progress in school. Free child care is provided on-site for the young children of students while they are in class. The Excel Center’s locations are open year-round, mornings through evenings.
Classes can be scheduled to fit each student’s situation. Curriculum materials meet Indiana state standards, and the school’s design enables students to accelerate credit attainment.
There are more than 447,450,000 working-age Hoosiers who lack a high school diploma. Prior to The Excel Center, Goodwill’s unique high school for adults, there were few options for people like Dontre Smith who wanted to earn one.
“I was in the worst condition of my life, living in a semi-abandoned house,” Dontre said, referring to the place he called home on-and-off for nine years. Due to homelessness and lack of transportation, Dontre had a difficult time keeping a job. He also lacked a support system.
“I never had a positive role model. I had no drive or motivation until my beautiful goddaughter was born,” Dontre said. “I was ashamed that I couldn’t afford to give her anything for her first birthday.” A few days later, he enrolled at The Excel Center. He worried that he might not be able to finish due to his learning disability, but he trusted the teachers and staff and found a support system he had never had before.
“I made it to school every day despite my living arrangement, but it was difficult,” Dontre said. “There were strange people at the house at all hours of the night looking for a high, causing me to go to school sleepy, irritated and miserable.”
In order to ensure Dontre had a safe place to live to focus on his studies, the school arranged for him to stay in a hotel.
“I will forever be thankful for that,” Dontre said. “I don’t believe I would have made it to graduation if they hadn’t provided food and shelter to me.” In June 2020, Dontre earned his diploma as well as a Certified Nurse Aide certification and is currently employed at a home health agency.
Indianapolis Metropolitan High School is a free public school offering a high school education to students in grades 9-12. Indianapolis Met is a best-fit school for students experiencing circumstances that may present a barrier to education. Our school places an emphasis on ensuring students enroll in college or enter into a career that offers a living wage post-graduation.
Indianapolis Met is designed to serve students who are experiencing circumstances that may become barriers to their education. Barriers may include:
Indianapolis Metropolitan High School is a best-fit school for teenage students experiencing circumstances that may present a barrier to education. In 2020, those circumstances included a pandemic that entirely uprooted education across the globe, but our students adapted and persevered, and our faculty did an amazing job at ensuring we could continue to provide high-quality, rigorous instruction and individualized support.
After experiencing challenges in a previous educational setting, Luis Gonzalez enrolled at Indianapolis Metropolitan High School in September 2020. “When Luis first came to Indy Met, he was disengaged from academics,” said Shelly Bright, a math teacher at Indianapolis Metropolitan High School. “He quickly found success and emerged as a scholar.”
Luis is diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which can be a challenge under the best circumstances, but during the pandemic, Luis excelled in an educational setting that required self-discipline and impeccable time management skills. In addition, he managed to balance employment at Goodwill with his responsibilities as a student.
Luis didn’t just graduate — he graduated early, recently passed the Quickbooks certification test and is enrolled at Ivy Tech to study mechanical engineering.
“When I understood that the teachers were there to help me, I was able to focus and do better.”
Luis Gonzalez, Indianapolis Metropolitan High School