To aid Lebanon schools’ continued effort to raise the graduation rate, the school board approved Tuesday, Feb. 23, the creation of a new position — a graduation coach.

Superintendent Dr. Robert Taylor told the school board at a special meeting that the Community Action Group of Greater Indianapolis has offered to provide a $50,000 grant to fund the position.

“The entire position is funded by grant dollars, so there is no burden to the taxpayer or additional cost for us,” Taylor said. “But I believe it’s a great asset.”

If the funding disappears, then the position will go away with it, Taylor said.

Having a graduation coach is a trend administrators have watched in larger corporations, Taylor said. The individual would be a mentor, a coach, a tutor — providing whatever necessary to help a struggling student.

“It could be transportation, a study group, materials and any other issues that may become a hindrance to their graduation,” Taylor said.

Lebanon High School Principal Kevin O’Rourke has identified 15 to 20 students in the junior and senior classes that may be at risk for graduation. He could identify up to 60 students for the coach to work with, Taylor said.

The focus is on students in the junior and senior classes, though that could expand as the program develops. The coach would not have classroom space in the high school, but could work in the guidance area, media center or in other classrooms.

Taylor and administrators will now create a job description for the position. The description will need to be approved by the school board, and then the corporation can begin to advertise for it.

“This is of tremendous value,” Taylor said, “and I think we’ll see great productivity out of this position.”

The new position comes at a good time for LHS’ graduation rate, which surpassed the 90-percent mark last year. It had increased by nearly 10 percent since 2006, when it sat at 80.5 percent.

Lebanon’s graduation rate is now almost 10 percent above the state average.

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