National dropout rates among high school students have drawn some major attention recently. The Obama Administration has set forth some goals to reverse the trends of schools that are termed “dropout factories”, having fewer than 60 percent of students who start school their freshmen year still enrolled four years later. Schools all over the country have taken some different approaches to turning around these numbers and getting more high school students earning diplomas. One method that is being used is the hiring of graduation coaches.
The state of Georgia is currently involved in a program throughout the state to use graduation coaches to help students. Graduation coaches have a dedicated responsibility to identify students who are at-risk for dropping out of school. This risk may be due to poor attendance or failing grades. Once those at-risk students are identified, the graduation coach prepares a plan or strategy that will engage students in getting motivated.
These students can be coached on what they need to do to graduate, and have some personal attention to help reach that goal. Graduation coaches are not simply holding the hands of students; they are creating full blown plans to turn things around for these students.
Having a graduation coach involves somewhat of an intervention. The coach involves the parents and the child to achieve success, come up with teams for at-risk students and even put them in touch with organizations in the community that encourage academic success. All graduation coaches are required to have held positions in teaching and counseling.
Graduation coaches are familiar with what strategies will work to motivate students to work hard, and must have a track record of results when working with at-risk teens. The job of a graduation coach is one that will grow in demand as more states start to use their services. So far, they have been successful in Georgia, so other states may start to follow suit.