Pathways Success Coach Gives Senior Laptop - And Hope Of Graduation

Tim Franco

Written by Tim Franco, success coach, Lincoln High School, Warren, Michigan

I first met 12th grader Destinee Waller and her mother at a morning meeting with school administrators. Destinee had been tardy three times that week, requiring a meeting with her parent. The assistant principal had informed me that Destinee had trouble with her attitude, which became obvious during the meeting.

When I first met Destinee Waller, my impression was that she was very defiant. She was not receptive at all to what the school administration was saying to her. I also could tell that she was a very intelligent student who had the potential to succeed.

Factors Affecting Destinee’s Attitude

Destinee was short 2.5 credits needed to graduate on time. Although she was enrolled in the school’s E2020 course (an online credit recovery program), she did not have enough time during the day to complete the E2020 coursework, in addition to her regular school work. Because her grandfather picked her up after classes, she couldn’t stay after school to use the computer lab to complete coursework. She had no other option for transportation, as the family lived in Detroit and bus fare was too expensive.

Success Coach Starts Solution-Focused Strategizing

I asked Destinee and her mother if they had a computer with Internet access at home so Destinee could complete her E2020 course. They did not, and that day I emailed a group of agencies and individuals, asking if anyone knew of a resource that would provide Destinee with a home computer. Almost immediately, I received a response. Someone was willing to donate her old notebook computer. I informed Destinee the following day a notebook computer was donated, but an improvement in attendance must be seen before it would be given to her.

Destinee’s Attitude Does a 180

Following that meeting, DHHS staff and the school saw a marked improvement not only in her attendance but also her attitude. She attended all classes on time, every day. “She has been such a wonderful and pleasant person in class. I am seeing a huge improvement not only in her attendance but also her attitude and behavior,” said one teacher.  

Following these positive reports, DHHS staff met with the Destinee to give her the laptop. “I had been going through a lot of personal issues, and it made my heart happy to see that people like the DHS success coach actually care about me and are willing to help me,” Destinee said.

I also connected Destinee’s mother with Comcast’s Internet Essentials program, which provides low-income families Internet service for $9.95 a month for educational purposes. Destinee’s mother was so happy these resources were found and provided for her daughter.

“I was so shocked to see how much DHHS cared and was able to help. This has given my daughter the motivation to succeed,” Destinee’s mother said.

With my assistance, Destinee was able to get the resources, help and positive attention she needed to graduate on time. I am very excited to report that not only is Destinee continuing to succeed, but she is enrolled at the Art Institute of Michigan.

According to Destinee’s mother, the attention and assistance that DHHS Pathways to Potential provided Destinee helped her beyond measure.

“She has found her motivation and is continuing to succeed,” she said.