Monday, March 2, 2009

GA Grad Coaches Share Best Practice

Graduation Coaches Share Best Practices at The National Dropout Prevention Conference

When the National Dropout Prevention Conference came to Atlanta in late 2008, sessions presented by Georgia Graduation Coaches were some of the most worthwhile throughout the 4-day event. Here are two examples:

Georgia's Fulton County Schools were represented by a team of Middle School Graduation Coaches. This enthusiastic and dedicated group of educators shared examples of what they do in their schools to meet the needs of students. In a presentation entitled Lighting the Torch in Middle School, we got a glimpse of how these Coaches create individual and group sessions, credit recovery programs, creating plans for success for students, offering parent workshops, encouraging community partners, mentoring programs and offering parent workshops. Machelle Allen, Andrea Cheetham, Mimi Gamel, Robyn Magnussen, Andrea Walker, Jennifer Wilson and F.J. "Harvey" Oaxaca all work to create a culture for their schools that is highly motivated and enthusiastic with a "no excuses" mindset. Fulton County Schools offers a website that you can visit for more details on these programs and to contact the Coaches by email.

Gloria Santana-Gelin, Graduation Coach at Dobbins Middle School, led a round table discussion on her school's Pen Pal Program. The program currently includes 5th grade students from feeder elementary schools paired with 6th grade students in the current middle school. It also includes 8th grade students from the current middle school and the 9th grade students in high school. Four letters are written in the Language Arts classes with participation being voluntary for teachers and students. Ms. Santana-Gelin plays a central role in matching the pen pals and working with the classroom teachers on appropriate content for the letters.

Feedback to date from teachers is that this is both a good way to prepare the students for the next grade level and to get the older students involved in school as a role model for others. Students want to hear from their peers about decisons and choices that they will have to make as they make the transition to the next grade level.

Visit the designated websites for more information on the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network and for the Georgia Graduation Coach program.

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