The Connecticut Department of Social Services joined Wyman’s National Network in 2010. Currently, TOP® is being implemented in two schools in New Haven, one school in West Haven, and one school in Bridgeport, which serves approximately 200 urban students, ages 13-17, during the day.
Asia Goubourn, Connecticut’s TOP facilitator and director, shared their approach to implementing TOP. “We believe in teamwork, and have been able to pair the two facilitators working in middle schools and the two facilitators working in high schools,” said Goubourn. “While each facilitator is primarily responsible for one school, the co-facilitation results in a great synergy between the two facilitators and more attention for each student.”
According to Goubourn, the curriculum inspires teens to discuss real life situations where they can apply TOP. “My favorite part of the program is witnessing group discussions, seeing progress outside of TOP, and experiencing new and improved interactions among the students.”
“Because of topics like decision making in the Wyman’s Changing Scenes© curriculum, many of our students have found themselves making better and more informed decisions about who to befriend,” added Goubourn. “We’ve noticed that the information students receive from the curriculum is often instantly applied to their lives and current situations.”
At Barnard Environmental Magnet School, Henry Green, a facilitator, did a lesson on decision making/conflict resolution. The next day, a male student thanked him. “My TOP student explained that earlier that morning, he was being encouraged to fight, but the conflict resolution discussion played over and over in his head,” explained Green. “Instead of fighting, the student went directly to the main office and got help.”
Goubourn offers others in the Network words of encouragement: “We believe that there is hope for the future. No matter where the students come from, with the right influence and guidance, they have the ability to overcome all obstacles. We encourage those who have the privilege of implementing TOP to continue to show compassion and empathy for their students, because the students really value and appreciate our passion and dedication.”