1. If each middle school student has more opportunities to develop a strong and significant support system, the results will be greater confidence, greater understanding of the self as a learner, and greater chances for reflection with regards to personal decisions and choices.
2. If students are given more opportunities to develop their leadership skills, they will develop greater levels of confidence, self-worth and become advocates for others.
“The school environment is inviting, safe, inclusive, and supportive of all. A successful school for young adolescents is an inviting, supportive, and safe place, a joyful community that promotes in-depth learning and enhances students' physical and emotional well-being. Every student's academic and personal development is guided by an adult advocate. Academic success and personal growth increase markedly when young adolescents' affective needs are met. Each student must have one adult to support that student's academic and personal development.” – This We Believe 2010, National Middle School Association.
“William Preble found important indicators of a safe and respectful climate in those schools with the most effective peer leader programs. First, a majority of students were aware of the peer leader program. Second, students from traditionally targeted groups and non-college-bound students reported significantly greater confidence that students and adults would speak up to stop harassment. Third, students perceived a high level of respect from teachers, staff and administrators. Fourth, all students reported lower levels of harassment and greater feelings of safety.” - The Respectful School, 2003, Stephen L. Wessler and William Preble.
“Mentoring uses relationships to impart changes in attitudes and behaviors. Effective mentoring programs include programs that match a mentor with one or more youth and can take place in multiple and informal settings, as well as in a school or program context.” - United States Department of Justice 2009 Mentoring Application and Guide.
Mentoring/Student Leadership Block would take place one to two times per month from September through May. A total of 11 Mentoring blocks would take place. Mentoring would not meet in March of 2012. The Mentoring Block would follow Homeroom and be thirty minutes in length. The following blocks, A, B & C, would last forty-five minutes. Periods D-F would not change. Every effort would be made to rotate the day numbers on which the Mentoring Block met.
8th grade students would be mentored by grade 6 teachers as well as other UA/WL/PE and Special Education teachers.
7th grade students would be mentored by grade 7 teachers as well as other UA/WL/PE and Special Education teachers.
6th grade students would be mentored by grade 8 teachers as well as UA/WL/PE and Special Education teachers. Grade 8 teachers will be joined by two eighth grade students (1M, 1F) who have been successful in the peer mentor application process.
This method would allow for looping in the following years (8th grade teachers would then mentor a group for three years, 7th grade teachers for two years followed by three years and 6th grade teachers for one year followed by three years.
Mentoring activities, surveys, brain-teasers, ethical dilemmas, role-playing, historical information and other mentoring undertakings would be provided for all mentors prior to Mentoring Sessions.
Administrators will be mentors.
Mentoring groups will be no larger than thirteen students.
An administrative/teacher committee will be formed in September of 2011 to look at the draft Mentoring/Student Leader proposal for feasibility and fine-tuning.
After the second February Mentoring Session, a survey will be distributed to all students and mentors to determine the effectiveness in addressing the rationale.