Forsyth County Schools achieves highest graduation rate: An interview with South’s graduation coach, Jill McKee

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SFHS graduation coach Ms. McKee. She enjoys being able to help students develop their interests and prepare for their futures. In the past she has been an AP and IB science teacher and AP coordinator which eventually led her to pursue the path of a graduation coach. “As a teacher your role is with those students that you teach. In this role it’s a further reach,” (Ms. McKee).

Lisa Holiday and Brooke Eldridge

The 2020 Forsyth County Schools’ graduation rate saw its highest percentage of 96.14%. Taking the lead in the county with a graduation rate of 98.91% is South Forsyth High School. Right below SFHS is Lambert High School with a graduation rate of 98.62%. Then, there is Denmark High School at 95.53%, West Forsyth High School at 95.2%, Forsyth Central High School at 94.86%, and North Forsyth High School at 93.56%.

While all of these statistics are very impressive, the most noteworthy success has to be South Forsyth High School having the highest graduation rate in Georgia for schools with over 300 graduates. Alongside that, another notable accomplishment achieved by Lambert High School is that they had the highest graduation rate for high schools with over 550 graduating students.

These accomplishments would not have been possible without Forsyth County’s graduation coaches. The purpose of a graduation coach varies, but their main focus is to ensure that students are on the right track to graduate and prepared to strive towards a successful future beyond high school.

Jill McKee, South Forsyth High School’s graduation coach, has made it her mission to provide support to all students. “I am helping students reach their goals whether that be college or a career,” Mrs. McKee said. “The goal here is to help them see success.”

The determination Mrs. McKee expresses goes to show that graduation coaches are there to help students develop individual plans according to what they want and what they hope to achieve in their futures. Graduation coaches often collaborate to find the best possible solutions which can be significantly helpful and more productive. They often work together to identify students in need of encouragement and guidance and once they have identified those people who need a little extra support, they will reach out and discuss their concerns with the student. 

“If students are behind we help them, and it’s not just me. It is a team of people,” Ms. McKee explained, “It’s myself and a team of other administrators, other student support staff, counselors, and teachers. It’s really a collective effort that if we notice that a student is behind we pull up our sleeves and get to work to devise a plan to help that student get on track.”

There can be a lot that goes into getting a student on the right path when they are lost. Graduation coaches must set aside a lot of time to patiently work with students as they discover their goals as an individual. All people have their own vision which is why it is essential how graduation coaches remain patient and considerate towards students.

“So how do we help them reach those next steps?” Ms. McKee contemplated, “I talk to students about college applications, I sit here and work on college applications with students as well as the counselors.”

These are only a few examples of just how truly helpful our graduation coaches are. They have helped Forsyth County reach the highest graduation rate in history. That being said, any student who needs some kind of help or guidance should never hesitate to reach out to their school’s exemplary graduation coaches.