Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do you still have a question about our programs or what we do? Check here for answers to frequently asked questions.


This program is run in the schools. Why are they not covering the cost?

The schools are concerned with the success of each of their students and have programs in place to work with students who are not on a successful track. Unfortunately, the state funding in our county does not fully cover the need in this area. Gradway is an additional program, on top of what the schools are already doing, to guide students and encourage them toward graduation.


How does an at-risk student become involved with Gradway?

Students are referred to the program by counselors, teachers, and administrators in each school based on a set of 14 at-risk indicators. These include, but are not limited to, attendance, ISTEP/ECA assessments, free/reduced lunch, family dynamics, and discipline referrals. The student and parents are then brought into the discussion, are introduced to the program, and are able to choose whether or not they would like the student to be involved.



How long does each student spend in the Gradway Grad Coach program?

Each student enters the program on an "at-risk" basis. This means that they are not on track to graduate. Whether a student struggles with academics, trouble at home, behavior, low test scores, trouble focusing on a task, etc., he/she is taught to overcome those struggles. Some students need this guidance throughout their entire high school career and some just need a quick, friendly push in the right direction. Our students are encouraged to work up to a point where they are confident and motivated to be successful on their own, but, they are welcome to be a part of the Gradway Grad Coach program for their full four years should they need that support.


This is a graduation initiative. Why do you have programs in the middle schools?

Gradway began as a graduation initiative in the four local high schools; Tippecanoe Valley, Warsaw Community, Wawasee, and Whitko. The Board of Directors and committee quickly realized that by working with students at a younger age as well, we could potentially start guiding students in the right direction before they reach high school and end up behind and at risk for dropping out or not graduating. Our Success Coaches in the middle schools work with their students to provide the same type of support that our high school students receive. The advantage here is that these children have a positive, caring, adult who is pushing for them to succeed before they ever reach high school.


Do your coaches follow a curriculum?

The wonderful thing about Gradway is that it is a collaborative effort with our local schools that is funded by their in-kind donations as well as private grants, and donations from local businesses and members of the community. This allows our coaches to stay flexible enough to meet the needs of each student, regardless of the challenges he/she is facing, and yet still remain focused on the end goal of graduation. Coaches are available for guidance, help with homework, encouragement, or just to provide a listening ear. We find that our students respond well to this type of guidance and relate well to their coaches.


How do we know this program is working?

Our coaches and mentors work closely with the Gradway Executive Director to report their success stories as well as data that is specific to each student. In addition to this, we have seen a positive trend, from 74% to 92%, in Kosciusko County graduation rates since Gradway began in 2009.


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"when they invested in me I wanted to give back more than they expected."

» Michael Thacker | Read More