2018-04-11 / News

State puts ‘Success Coach’ in Brown City, Marlette schools

BY STEVEN KOVAC
810-452-2684 • skovac@mihomepaper.com

BROWN CITY — On March 26, Brown City and Marlette elementary schools became the first in Sanilac County to receive a “Success Coach,” courtesy of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

The program, which works through the agency’s Sandusky office, is fully funded by the state.

Brown City Superintendent Neil Kohler told the News, “Our success coach’s name is Julie Essad. We will share her with Marlette. She will work at Brown City Elementary on Mondays and Wednesdays, and in Marlette Elementary on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

“She will help us with things like student attendance and behavior.”

Kohler added, “Julie’s efforts will be focused on elementary students in the hope of fixing their problems early, before they get to junior and senior high school. It’s part of the governor’s Pathways to Potential Success initiative and is of no cost to us.”

MDHHS Public Information Officer Lynn Sutfin provided information explaining the philosophy and purpose of the program.

Sutfin’s material said Pathways to Potential has changed the way MDHHS does business by getting personnel out of the office and into schools and the community. It has already placed caseworkers in hundreds of Michigan public schools since its inception in 2012.

By working closely with students and their families in a convenient location on a nearly daily basis, Pathways workers deployed in the schools are said to be better able to find out the root causes of student absenteeism. They are supposed to be better able to address the underlying circumstances at home and help remove some of the barriers keeping children out of school; often things that schools lack the ability to deal with.

The aim of the initiative is to keep kids off the street, out of court, and in school.

Annually, about 100,000 Michigan students demonstrate truancy problems, a factor contributing to Michigan being ranked 40th out of the 50 states in high school graduation rates.

According to department statistics, chronic absenteeism dropped 37 percent in Pathways-serviced schools from the 2013-14 to the 2014-15 school year.

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