Success coaches help students improve their academic careers through advising

Annie Bambang, Arts & Entertainment Writer

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Many of you have seen them in the hallways, during lunch, or on social media, encouraging and supporting members of the student body or spreading positivity, but who are they?

Answer: Two Perry Meridian alums-turned-staff members who  connect with students and bring out the utmost potential within them.

Devin Sloan and Adam Wiese are success coaches, who guide and mentor students and identify , significant causes of their  improvement.

Success coaches are part of a concept at Perry just just  introduced this year to focus on building relationships with students who are struggling with academic or social issues in order to better themselves and improve their grades.

Wiese, who coaches the juniors and seniors, describes the position as “Someone who is able to get someone else to be motivated or that allows others to find ambition or what drives them. Every case is different, but finding that untapped potential to do better is what I try to do.”

Sophomore Jala Brooks agrees.

“Mr. Sloan has helped me a lot, Brooks says. “He pushes me forward and helps me keep track of my grades. He also gives me examples of how he was in school and tells me to focus on my future.”

In order to determine which students need the most assistance or push to get on the right track, Sloan, who coaches the freshmen and sophomores, targets freshmen who were not held as accountable during middle school because it didn’t contribute to their high school GPAs.

He also targets sophomores who have six credits or fewer to catch their academic career early so students can focus on college their junior year.

“Juniors and seniors realize they want to be better and they say, ‘Hey, I don’t want to be the same student I was, what can I do to be better?’” Wiese says. “They see a path they don’t want to be on anymore and they want to break that mold. Some ways it’s easier, they see the trouble, but with some cases, they get older and don’t care as much.”

Sloan and Wiese have different approaches for each student, ranging from advocating for students to sit in the front of classrooms because of poor sight, to having group study sessions for specific subjects.

Coaches even reach out to National Honor Society tutors. They also work with guidance counselors and teachers to discover what is still needed for graduation and to monitor grades to know what subjects students still need improvement on or are struggling with.

A key factor is typically motivation.

“Motivation is a big thing,” Sloan says. “I’m always motivating, but I try to keeps things realistic and show outcomes and solutions that are possible. At the same time, there is so much I can do. The students have to want to learn and be coachable.”

One thing Sloan has found helpful in building motivation is building relationships with students. Sloan, a Perry graduate, failed five classes his freshman year and lets his students know that someone has been in their position before and can relate to their experiences to take early action and lead them on a better path.

One of the greatest progressions Sloan has seen so far is a student raising her grades significantly, from  Fs to As.

“I saw it in her eyes,” Sloan says. “It was a feeling of fulfillment and she felt good about herself. She was genuinely happy to be doing well and to continue doing well. Even her friends were excited for her and motivating her on the next grade to raise. It was the real definition of ‘We Fly Together.’”