Peer Group Connection: Mentoring For Safe, Supportive, Engaging, and Inspiring Environments

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Presented at the 2013 NPEA conference by: Princeton Center for Leadership Training

http://www.educational-access.org/npea_conference_speakers2013.php

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  • Research consistently demonstrates that students are most vulnerable for dropping out of school during and immediately following their first year of high school. Programs that support students throughout the transition and extending throughout the school year have the greatest impact on keeping students engaged and in school.
  • Research consistently demonstrates that students are most vulnerable for dropping out of school during and immediately following their first year of high school. Programs that support students throughout the transition and extending throughout the school year have the greatest impact on keeping students engaged and in school.
  • Peer-to-peer group mentoring has provided hundreds of high schools across the country with a straightforward, cost-effective, and evidence-based model for enhancing school connectedness and easing the transition into high school for 9th graders
  • PCLT is inspired by this incredible and historic opportunity. We will build on more than two decades of partnership with the Newark Public Schools and lessons learned from working with hundreds of schools and thousands of students, teachers, and parents. We are confident that we can be a catalyst for engaging the entire Newark community in an ongoing, coordinated focus on and commitment to providing for all students a safe and supportive environment; an environment that inspires students to come to school ready to learn, achieve, and ultimately graduate ready for the rigors of college and high quality careers; an environment that is a prerequisite for learning.
  • Peer Group Connection: Mentoring For Safe, Supportive, Engaging, and Inspiring Environments

    1. 1. Princeton Center for Leadership Training Dr. Margo Ross, Senior Director April 11, 2013
    2. 2.  Partner with schools to help create safer and more supportive, engaging, inspiring environments Has served hundreds of schools since 1988 and our work touches tens of thousands of students, educators, and parents annually Highly committed to implementing effective programs in partnership with communities that have large numbers of economically disadvantaged youth
    3. 3.  District/School  Government Leaders Administrators  Community- Teachers Based/Nonprofit Leaders Student Support Services  Business Leaders Professionals  Funders Elementary Educators  Parents Middle Grades Educators  Students High School Educators  Who did we miss?
    4. 4. As a result of participating in this workshop, learners will be ableto:• articulate why feeling connected to school leads to fewer dropouts, higher grades, and reduced bullying• appreciate the need to focus on the middle to high school transition in efforts to improve students’ sense of school connectedness• understand the evidence supporting a peer group mentoring model that enhances school connectedness for students and eases the transition into high school for 9th graders
    5. 5. • There is a profound weakness in the support provided to students during the transition into high school.• By the time they are in high school, as many as 40 to 60 percent of all students—urban, suburban and rural—are ―chronically disengaged‖ from school.• Such disengagement has dire consequences – research consistently demonstrates that students are most vulnerable for dropping out of school during and immediately following their first year of high school. Blum, 2005; Cohen & Smerdon, 2009
    6. 6. From your experiences and observations,what are the most significant challenges facing students as they transition from middle school to high school?
    7. 7. Programs that support students throughout the transition frommiddle to high school and extending throughout the freshman and sophomore years have the greatestimpact on keeping students engaged and in school.
    8. 8.  Have adequate support of  Are delivered over multiple school leadership structured sessions over multiple years Develop individual social skills  Provide adequate training and Are theory driven support to program facilitators Involve interactive teaching  Are culturally and approaches (e.g. small group developmentally appropriate for activities and role plays) the students they serve Use properly selected and  Integrate into the regular school trained peer leaders to facilitate day delivery of the program  Reach all students transitioning Integrate other segments of the community (e.g. family  Have adequate resources members)
    9. 9. By leveraging the power of school-based, group mentoring by older peers and focusing intensively on the transition from middle to high school…We can transform this period of heightened vulnerability into one of significant opportunity to prevent the potentially devastating personal and societal consequences of high school disengagement.
    10. 10. School connectedness - the belief by students that people in the school care about their learning and about them as individuals –is an powerful protective factor in thelives of young people and an importantprerequisite to reduced bullying, greateracademic achievement, lower dropoutrates, improved grades, fewer disciplinereferrals, and fewer high-risk behaviors. Blum & Libbey, 2004; http://www.casel.org/basics/climate.php
    11. 11. Once upon a time, we were where our studentsare. Our experiences may have lookeddifferent from theirs, or our experiences mayhave looked similar. Almost across the board,though, adolescence wasn’t—and isn’t—easy.To help establish context for consideringprogramming that supports schoolconnectedness and ensures that students makean effective transition into high school, let’sbegin with a quick visit back to that time andplace when we, too, were teenagers…
    12. 12. Working in groups of three, participants introduce themselves toone another and take turns sharing responses to any one of thefollowing questions:• What is one memory you have about a time in high school when you felt strongly connected to other students?• What is one memory you have about a time in high school when you felt strongly disconnected from other students?• Think back to one adult in your middle school or high school who threw you a lifeline – this adult knew you and cared about you, and this person’s caring made a positive difference in your life.
    13. 13. • What patterns did we see emerge in our memories of school connectedness and disconnectedness?• What might make it even harder for today’s high school students to experience a sense of school connectedness?
    14. 14. Peer-to-peer group mentoring is astraightforward, cost-effective, and evidence- based model for:• Enhancing school connectedness• Easing the transition into high school for 9th graders
    15. 15. 15 15
    16. 16. Let’s watch a brief video segment that highlightsthe PGC program in Union City, New Jersey, wherestudents are currently immersed in mentoringroles.• What did you see or hear that resonated with you most deeply?• What school-based challenges do you think would be addressed by a group mentoring program that sets older students in motion with younger students? 16 16
    17. 17. % of Ninth Grade Students who Graduated from High School90% 90% 81%80% 77% 80% 67% 70%70% 63%60% 60% 50%50% Program Group Control Group Program Group Control Group All Students Male Students 17
    18. 18. • Higher grades• Better attendance• Fewer discipline referrals• Fewer instances of fighting and suspension• Improved communication with peers and others
    19. 19. 1. Collaboration with School Leadership: PCLT staff collaborates with school leadership to assemble and train a school-based Stakeholder Team.2. Faculty Advisors: PCLT staff collaborates with the school-based Stakeholder Team to identify, select, train, and support Faculty Advisors.3. Peer Leaders: Faculty Advisors select and train Peer Leaders through an out-of-school retreat and a daily, credit-bearing leadership class.4. Weekly Outreach Sessions: Peer Leaders mentor and support younger peers in curriculum-driven weekly sessions, carefully planned special events, meaningful service learning projects and informally throughout the school day and year.5. Family Nights: Parents/caregivers participate in special family events.6. 10th Grade Booster Sessions: Younger peers receive additional support for a second year. 19
    20. 20. The PGC curriculum uses engaging, hands-on activities to address issues that have been shown to help reduce risk behaviors and produce positive student outcomes, including high school completion. Curriculum topics include: Sense of School Belonging  Goal Setting Competence in  Coping Skills Interpersonal Relationships  Decision Making Conflict Resolution, Anger  Peer Acceptance & Resisting Management, & Violence Peer Pressure Prevention  Anger Management Bullying & Bystander Behavior  Stress Management Achievement Orientation &  Service Learning Motivation 20
    21. 21. • What is something you’ve heard or thought about today that will stay with you?• What’s one next step you would like to take back to your own school?• For additional information about PCLT, please contact Margo at mross@princetonleadership.org

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