Engaging with community partners such as Georgia Shape, Marietta High School is providing programming for its students to help students succeed in and outside the classroom.
Marietta High School was recently ranked among the nation’s top public high schools on the list of “America’s Most Challenging High Schools” by the Washington Post. This is the fifth time the school has been recognized for their academic rigor and success by the Washington Post. Alongside the notable teaching provided by their faculty, Marietta High School is leading the way in providing resources and support necessary to build a community of healthier students to enable them to reach their full potential.
One achievement contributing to the school’s success is the development of the Graduate Marietta Student Success Center which opened on October 22, 2016. The opening of the center is the culmination of two years of formative research that was conducted to understand factors that hold students back from graduating high school. Survey results found that that students were facing a variety of challenges that were making it difficult to focus in the classroom: homelessness, substance abuse, lack of support in the household, hunger, etc. To address these difficulties and help students succeed in and outside the classroom, the Graduate Marietta Student Success Center provides various programming opportunities. Leigh Colburn, Director of the Graduate Marietta Student Success Center, oversees the center and its programs to ensure that it is providing support and resources necessary for all students to succeed towards graduation.
The Student Success Center aims to improve graduation rates and student success post-graduation through a number of services and programs provided by the Center for Academic Support (including a college and career center), Center for Behavior Support (including a range of intervention services), and the Center for Community Partnerships and Services (including therapeutic services provided through community partnerships). In addition, students have also expressed a desire for more health and wellness programs within the center. Wellness efforts include:
- An in-house food pantry providing students with healthy food options. Students are able to visit the food pantry and pick healthy items such as fresh produce, packaged foods, as well as household necessities to take home for free.
- Culinary classes two time a week to further educate and emphasize healthy nutrition. Students are taught how to make a healthy snack and are given the snacks for free at the conclusion of the demonstration. Culinary classes are held in the Good Vibe Café, an old room in the school that was re-designed as a cafe through community support and funding from the Kiwanis Club of Marietta. In addition to financial support, the Kiwanis Club provides volunteers to enhance nutritional and health literacy to students in Marietta, Georgia.
- Mindfulness activities to encourage and provide a holistic approach to overall wellbeing:
- Free yoga classes where students are taught how to manage and cope with stress, negative emotions, and difficult circumstances in a more positive, healthy way. Through yoga classes, students at MHS are learning how to manage daily stressors and re-direct negative influences through yoga poses that require students to practice mindfulness while boosting physical activity.
- Teachers are incorporating mindfulness activities such as ‘brain breaks’ in the classroom to help teach positive coping strategies for their students.
To assist with the implementation of these wellness efforts, Colburn applied for and received a $5,000 Shape Physical Activity and Nutrition Grant from Georgia Shape. With the Shape grant and additional community support, the Student Success Center will continue to provide wellness and support services that were expressed as a need by the students themselves.
To stay up to date on the activities and services provided by the Graduate Marietta Student Success Center, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/graduatemarietta. To learn more about the Graduate Marietta campaign, visit www.graduatemarietta.com.