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Grad coaches are not satisfied

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We are still working on that 4.5 percent. We want to see the graduation rate be 100 percent, Graduation Coaching supervisor Pat Climer told The Wilson Post on Wednesday, noting that numbers from the 2012-2013 school year will not be finalized until the fall.

Graduation coaches begin evaluating students as freshmen by looking at information such as attendance records, test scores and referrals from eighth grade guidance counselors. It all starts with us building relationships with those students, said Lebanon High School Graduation Coach Jeremy Redmon. It is really a team effort between us, the teachers, the principal and the students peers.

We get to know them and get a handle on their schedules. We email their teachers and ask them to contact us if the student starts missing assignments. Student contact is another way to get in touch with them find out who their friends are and who they hang out with. It is a lot of students helping students, Mt. Juliet High School Coach Andy Rottero added.

The Graduation Coaching program began with part-time instructors in 2009; however, with the support of the Wilson County Board of Education, the program grew to full-time coaches in the 2010-2011 school year.

The graduation rate also grew during that time the rate was 87.9 percent in 2009.

Wilson Central High School Graduation Coach Debbie Hill said that she decided to apply to become a coach after spending 20 years as a guidance counselor because she witnessed the impact having a high school diploma had on her students futures.

Studies show that high school graduates are more likely to be employed, with annual earnings that average approximately $9,620 more, and their lifespan will average nine years longer than those who do not graduate.

There are many students who slip through the cracks and now we are able to see them through. There are kids who, without this program, may have dropped out. They went from feeling hopeless to finishing high school and getting their diploma, Hill said.

Watertown High School Graduation Coach Marcie Murrell was not present during the interview, but Climer wishes to mention her hard work and dedication to her role.

Graduation coaches work 20 days longer than classroom teachers during a regular school year, Redmon said. I really enjoy helping students refocus and decide on a plan that works for them.

Staff Writer Sabrina Garrett may be contacted at

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