Graduation coach helps dozens of students turn their grades around

A high school in Oregon has started using a graduation coach to help students are on the cusp of not graduating, reports Vickie Aldous in the Mail Tribune.

Eagle Point High School started the graduation coach program with a $25,000 grant from AllCare Health. Aldous cites research showing that people with higher educational attainment tend to live longer, exercise more, maintain a healthy weight, and be less likely to smoke.

Robert Joe became the graduation coach in April 2017. He was charged with ensuring that 74 freshman stayed on track to graduate, despite having received failing grades in their first semester at Eagle Point High School.

"Students who fall behind as freshmen have a much harder time earning enough credits to graduate from high school on time—or ever," writes Aldous.

By the end of the year, 52 out of the 74 students passed all of their classes, putting them on track to complete high school on time. According to Joe, the freshman class had the lowest number of students with failing grades in the school.

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Joe credits his students with helping one another by providing positive peer pressure, but he also nudged them submit missing assignments and joined them in their classes to make sure they were focused, among other things, Aldous reports.

"What the pilot project showed was we can have phenomenal results with students who are struggling," says Dee Anne Everson, executive director of United Way of Jackson County, which led the effort as part of a larger initiative in the state.

Given that Oregon has some of the lowest high school graduation rates in the country, school district officials hope to continue using graduation coaches to promote completion (Aldous, Mail Tribune, 6/21)

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