This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
by Avi Wolfman-Arent
At City Hall Tuesday morning, Mayor Michael Nutter kicked off the second year of the city’s Graduation Coach Campaign, an initiative that recruits volunteer adult mentors and provides them with resources to help guide young people through high school and onto college.
Last year the campaign, which operates under the umbrella of the mayor’s PhillyGoes2College initiative, recruited 1,500 graduation coaches. The campaign intends to double the rate of participation over the next year.
Graduation coaches receive what Nutter and Chief Education Officer Lori Shorr called a “playbook,” in the form of pamphlets and workshops, to help students navigate the path to college.
The campaign is a component of Nutter’s stated goal to increase the city’s graduation rate to 80 percent by 2015 and boost the percentage of college graduates from 18 to 36 percent by 2018. Shorr described the campaign as a citizen-driven effort to boost student achievement and outcomes.
“Graduation coaches are about people taking ownership of the fact that they can help a young person,” Shorr said.
Terry Pittman, the campaign’s new director, also used Tuesday’s press conference to announce and acknowledge seven anchor agencies working in partnership with the campaign. The anchor agencies, which change yearly, are community-based organizations tasked with hosting regional workshops for graduation coaches and serving as resource hubs for any adults looking to participate.
This year’s anchor agencies are Catholic Social Services, Congreso de Latinos Unidos, Diversified Community Services, EducationWorks, Mothers in Charge, the Salvation Army of Greater Philadelphia, and the Women’s Christian Alliance.