Student Voice, Straight Talk, and a Culture of Hope

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Webcast Details

Aired on: October 10th, 2017

3:30–4:30 p.m. (ET)

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Our Guest(s) This Week

Leigh Colburn

Leigh Colburn is an education consultant and co-founder of The Centergy Project, established after the success of the Graduate Marietta Student Success Center to assist other schools and districts achieve similar success. Recently retired from the Marietta School District in Georgia, she is a lifelong educator with degrees from Kennesaw State University, University of Mississippi, and University of Alabama. She served as the principal of Marietta High School (GA) for 10 years and as Director of Graduate Marietta Student Success Center from 2015– 2017. In 2016, under her leadership, the Graduate Marietta Student Success Center received the Charter System Innovator of the Year Award for the state of Georgia.

In addition to her work on several professional committees, Ms. Colburn is an active community leader who serves with numerous organizations focused on children and teens, mentoring, and substance abuse, as well as sexual abuse and domestic violence. She is a graduate of Leadership Cobb and the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Honorary Commanders Program. She works actively with the Marietta Schools Foundation, as well as with numerous government and nonprofit agencies, public safety organizations, and community groups to improve the quality of life for Marietta’s teens.

Ms. Colburn’s honors include being named Marietta Citizen of the Year, Marietta City Schools Employee of the Year, one of Cobb County’s “Top 10 Power Women,” and Northwest Georgia’s Woman of the Year.

This Week's Topic

What happens when warning systems point to barriers outside of the school’s control—barriers such as transiency, family changes, poverty, immigration, addiction, mental health? In this webcast, participants will learn how one Georgia high school is leveraging community partnerships, as well as state and federal resources, to holistically meet the academic, social/emotional, and family needs of students. Through wraparound services such as college/career coaching, clinical counseling, housing assistance, job skills readiness, classes for parents, abuse and addiction recovery services, and more, the Graduate Marietta Student Success Center is gaining state and national recognition for developing a common sense, community approach to meeting student needs.

The Graduate Marietta Student Success Center’s approach began with student interviews. Find out how these student interviews led to a school restructuring and the mind shift required to allow at-risk students to overcome barriers and to develop the resiliency needed for success. Steps involved include

  • Building Trust
  • Identifying and Prioritizing Needs
  • Identifying Public and Private Resources
  • Establishing Partnerships
  • Identifying Funding Sources
  • Creating Structure
  • Connecting Students and Families With Services


Student Voice, Straight Talk, and a Culture of Hope Presentation

Student Voice, Straight Talk, and a Culture of Hope Resources

About Graduate Marietta Student Success Center–regional-education/school-principal-asks-what-will-keep-students-from-failing/QQo6ILUOuV9YDxWYgmtmHN/

About The Centergy Project

Resources on Resiliency and Finding Strength
As Schools Tackle Poverty, Attendance Goes Up, But Academic Gains Are Tepid

America’s Promise Reports

Don’t Call Them Dropouts
Don’t Quit On Me

Resources on the Value of Kindness

Some Teens Don’t See School as a Kind Place. Here’s Why That Matters.
Kind Communities: A Bridge to Youth Mental Wellness


Covey, S. (2006). The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything. NY: Free Press.
Barr, R. D. & Gibson, E. L. (2013). Building a Culture of Hope: Enriching Schools With Optimism and Opportunity. Bloomington, IL: Solution Tree Press.
Lupton, R. D. (2015). Charity Detox: What Charity Would Look Like If We Cared About Results. NY: HarperCollins.
Hendershott, J. (2013). Reaching the Wounded Student. NY: Routledge.
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