Empowering Students to Graduate

Presenter: Patricia Bibby, High School Learning/Transition Coach, Saskatchewan Rivers School Division

“Students cannot hit a target if they don’t know where and what it is.”

Patricia Bibby is a high school learning/transition coach who supports principals, counselors, students and parents. She travels around Saskatchewan and serves 9 secondary schools in the school division. She is an advisor that connects people to professionals and creates opportunities for students.

Students see graduation differently:

  • A stepping stone for post secondary education
  • An emotional experience where you become an adult
  • Or a collection of 24 credits

Patricia showed us how to communicate with students to track their graduation progress. Her transition tracker tracks every single student. She says that students need individualized reasons for graduating. “Students cannot hit a target if they don’t know where and what it is.” Once students obtain their individual reason for graduating, nothing will be able to stop them.

As a grade 12 student who is graduating this year, I felt that this session was relevant to my situation. A lot of the time students don’t know what they want to do after graduation and are mesmerized by the concept. 4 years of high school seem so long but, those years fly by very quickly.

Truthfully, many students don’t think about graduation right away, we like to live in the moment, in the short-term present. I always think about my abstract future and ponder about graduation, I still can’t believe its happening. Perhaps the students that don’t graduate continue to think about the ‘now’, rather than the future.

I understand that its hard to empower students to graduate because everyone has different motivations, passions and dreams. Its hard for one person, for a teacher or guidance councillor to keep track of everyone. Since these educators interact with many students every day, we feel disconnected.

By feeling disconnected with the concept of graduation and educators, students may feel compelled to live by the day. Or maybe it’s the fear of leaving a comfortable place, maybe students don’t feel ready to leave their secondary schools to graduate.

Graduation is an abstract concept. It’s frightening since we don’t always know what happens afterwards. However, I feel that this presentation and the attendees really showed that they cared about their students graduating. I want everyone that cares to let students in their schools know that they DO care.

I like the various models and methods that I learned from this presentation and feel that students need to know how much work is put into their graduation. Before this presentation, I had no idea how big of an issue graduation was. I was unaware of the efforts of educators put into empowering students to graduate.


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