When Principal Ashauna Short came to John Marshall last year, the projected graduation rate was only 25%. That just wouldn’t do. Upon arrival, Short implemented a mentor program for seniors and watched the projected graduation rate soar, going from 25% in March 2014 to 62% in June.
John Marshall seniors are matched with a staff member at the school who serves as their mentor for the entire school year. Mentors meet with their mentees daily to track progress in classes and offer words of encouragement.
“It’s their person,” Graduation Coach Nicole Thomas said. “It’s an extra support system for the students. We pair the students with someone they get along with, someone they can build a relationship with.”
English teacher Misty Roseman agrees.
“It’s beneficial for the students to get extra support. We’re helping students that are right at the cusp of graduating. We send emails, talk to their teachers…we advocate for them,” Roseman said.
John Marshall mentors also encourage their mentees to take part in the “Twilight” program. Principal Short started the program this year to assist seniors in recovering credits needed to graduate on time. Students stay after school from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and take classes online or in the classroom to catch up with their peers.
Senior Andrea J. will be able to graduate with the help of her mentor and the Twilight program and credits them both in helping her work toward graduating on time.
“If students want to accomplish their goals and graduate and make a future, then this is a good opportunity that everyone needs to take advantage of,” Andrea said.
The mentor program keeps seniors accountable. The students have to complete daily sheets that track classroom attendance and participation and then report back to their mentors.
Short’s goal for this year is an 80% graduation rate, and her seniors are well on their way with the assistance from their mentors.
“We attribute last year’s increase of 40 points between March and June to the efforts and dedication of our graduation mentors,” Short said. “We still have much work to do as a school, but we are sure that graduation mentors will definitely help us reach our goals.”
We’re proud of the efforts at John Marshall and wish our seniors and mentors the best as they strive for success!