Regardless of lifestyle, past experiences, or age, Fiet believes every student has what it takes to graduate.
“All of my students are a success story.”
And when you meet Academic Coach Laura Fiet, you’ll understand why. Her enthusiasm for her job, commitment to her students’ goals, and overall positive energy make her a force—a force you want on your side as you work toward earning your high school diploma.
“I am so proud of every student I work with. Even just taking the first step to try again is a triumph. Their courage, hard work, and ability to balance schoolwork with their careers and families is inspiring,” Fiet said.
“I work with some students who question whether they’re too busy to focus on school—and I get it. But I tell them: ‘The only perfect time to earn your diploma is now.’ You can do this. I am rooting for you every step of the way.”
Helping students achieve their dreams is her own “dream come true”
Supporting her students in a one-on-one environment is one of the many reasons Fiet enjoys her role as a Career Online High School (COHS) Coach. Previously, she worked as a K12 teacher for nearly a decade and gained specialized experience working with high school students while earning her master’s degree in reading education.
Although teaching in private and public schools was rewarding, Fiet knew there was still more she wanted to do in her career. And working with adult students was exactly the puzzle piece she’d been missing.
The best part of her job? “Developing relationships and connecting with my students. One of my students is in her 70s and determined to finish school. I’m working with another student who hadn’t logged in to do his coursework in over seven months due to illness—but we made a plan and now he’s back on track! Understanding each student’s journey and their ‘why’ helps me know—and support—them in an individual way.”
On recognizing—and overcoming—students’ educational trauma
By getting to know her students on a personal level, Fiet can better understand the challenges they face. Often, prior educational trauma can be an obstacle for adults who return to a learning environment.
“When they were young, many COHS students experienced traditional school practices that caused them emotional pain,” she said. “And those experiences followed them through to adulthood.”
Fiet shared how her experience teaching in traditional schools has helped her better understand what practices cause students to leave the educational system, such as timed or standardized testing.
“My job is to remind students that COHS is not a traditional school,” she said. “Here, tests aren’t timed—so you don’t need to worry about finishing by a deadline. Students can retake tests until they show they know the subject matter. And most importantly, they can complete their work and tests when and where it works for them.”
The support of an Academic Coach is a key differentiator in why so many COHS students graduate with a high school diploma.
“Hands down, the hardest part of my job is hearing about my students’ struggles,” she said. “I can’t fix their problems, but I can be supportive. I can be in their corner—maybe the only person in their corner—telling them that I believe in them. I believe in their dreams. I know they can achieve them. Because that’s what I’m here to help them do.”
When she’s not working? Laura enjoys traveling with her boyfriend Aaron and bonding with Bodie, their 3.5-year-old shepherd mix rescue.