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Graduation Coach

Habersham County Graduation Coach Program

Andrea Jones, Habersham Central High School Graduation Coach



The mission of the Graduation Coach Initiative is to ensure the successful transition of all students from middle to high school and from high school into some form of post secondary education or work. This initiative is designed to provide a comprehensive prevention/intervention process for students at-risk of grade retention, and/or dropping out. The role of the graduation coach is to identify students in need of additional support and work with them to achieve academic success. The coach will work to ensure that all identified students receive the resources/services that they need to be guided toward the path of graduation.

Habersham County Graduation Coaches work to ensure smooth transitions of elementary school students to middle school, middle school students to high school, and high school students into post secondary options or work.  Graduation coaches identify youth at risk of dropping out due to academic and/or psycho-social barriers. Once students have been identified the coach will connect students to intervention programs to prevent grade retention, Criterion Reference Criteria Test (CRCT)/Georgia High School Graduation Test (GHSGT)/End of Course Test (EOCT) failure while ensuring a solid academic foundation that promotes the successful transition out of high school.

Identify at-risk students

•Utilize the components of a profile of characteristics of potential dropouts developed by the National Dropout Prevention Network to identify high school students at risk of dropping out.  These characteristics include: 

  • History of school failure, retention, and/or overage for grade;
  • Low standardized test scores, reading and/or math achievement;
  • Failure of the CRCT, GHSGT, and/or EOCT;
  • Special education/disability;
  • Attendance problems/truancy;
  • Behavioral problems, history of suspensions, high-risk peer group;
  • Disengagement from school, low expectations, lack of extracurricular involvement;
  • Family status or risk factors: economically disadvantaged, high mobility, non-native English speakers.

Generate School Support and Develop Graduation Team(s)

•In collaboration with a school's existing leadership, develop a Graduation Team(s) that includes administrators, teachers, advisors, counselors, school social workers and/or any other relevant service providers.  The Graduation Team(s) will help identify at-risk students, assess school and student needs, and develop/coordinate appropriate interventions.

•Graduation teams may utilize existing school-based teams, such as School Leadership, School Improvement, and/or Student Support Teams.

Develop School-wide Support and Interventions

•Work with faculty and administrators to develop credit recovery and alternative options and to adapt curriculum and differentiate instruction to meet the needs of identified at risk students;

•Provide training and/or support to middle school and high school teachers on support measures that work with youth identified as at risk of not graduating.

Provide Direct Service and Case Management

•Develop and implement individual, small group, and whole school intervention and prevention strategies to increase the likelihood that students will stay in school and graduate;

•Work with students to develop a graduation and career plan to include the best program to meet academic and post-secondary goals;

Develop Transition Programs and Vertical Teams with Elementary, Middle, and High Schools

•Collaborate with cluster elementary, middle, and high school(s) to identify students at risk of not graduating;

•Conduct vertical team meetings among elementary, middle, and high school faculty and staff to develop action steps to improve individual student and subgroup transition success rate;

•Collaborate with teachers, counselors, and/or advisors to assure the continued use of the transition process to help students successfully adapt to the rigors of the high school experience.

Develop Relationships with Parents/Guardians, Community Organizations, and Other Resources

•Connect individual students and their parents/guardians with community organizations and programs, Family Connections, Georgia College 411, Early College as well as area technical colleges;

•Develop or work with local mentoring programs, business and/or community coaches to connect individual students with mentors;

•Provide support and outreach to parents/guardians of students identified as being at risk of not graduating.

Assessment and Reporting

•Track the progress of individual students and subgroups as they progress toward high school graduation;

•Conduct and analyze on-going formative and summative evaluation data of program effectiveness


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