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Purpose, Belonging, Value, Trajectory: Student Success at Midnight Golf: What Now? Ep. 5 with Dave Gamlin

The part of this interview with Dave Gamlin, Executive Vice President of the Midnight Golf Program, that has stuck with me the most since we recorded, was his description of the layers of mentoring that Midnight Golf provides. We put them in the title of the video: purpose, belonging, value, trajectory. As in, different mentors serve different needs. Together, they provide the students they serve with the affirmation and internal motivation that humans need to stay in something difficult.

It was only after our interview that I realized the almost perfect alignment of this framing to influential research by the UChicago Consortium on Schools Research. “Teaching Adolescents to Become Learners” explains there are four key student mindsets that help a student to identify as a “learner.” These are: relevance, belonging, competence, and a growth mindset. Midnight Golf started doing this work some years before that CCSR paper was released, but it’s built on the same foundational ideas. The magic in Midnight Golf is the intuitive but extremely strategic leadership of Dave and others on his team, who believe all of their students have brilliance to unleash.

By understanding their students in a personal way, celebrating their unique strengths, and helping them navigate college and career, Midnight Golf’s 6-year college graduation rate is 70%. That’s remarkably high. We hope you enjoy Dave’s wisdom in this week’s What Now? video interview.

Dave’s interview is a part of our What Now? video interview series on education.

What Now? asks: how should we navigate through this pandemic, and ensure a more prosperous Michigan in our recovery? Click the icon for other videos in this series.

Check back next week for our upcoming interview with Craig Carmoney, the Superintendent of Meridian Public Schools, the only district in Michigan to offer early college for every student.

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Sarah Szurpicki

Sarah is the Vice President for Michigan Future Inc. and a partner at New Solutions Group, LLC, a consulting firm devoted to smart, collaborative, innovative approaches for organizations serving the public good.

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