Peer Mentoring - Creating a Positive Climate
Creating a Positive Climate
High School Mentoring Program expands to include Peers
For years at Sayville High School, the Mentoring Program had been matching adult faculty with students who might benefit from more individualized support within the school community. Once a week, for thirty minutes, these Mentors would spend quality time with their students, offering consistent support in study halls, playing games, or just conversation. This year something new has been added to the successful formula—peers!
Upper classmen, who demonstrated the necessary qualities to be a Peer Mentor, received specialized training at the High School, and recently met their ninth-grade mentees at a Kick-Off Breakfast held in November. The gathering of sixty people, comprised of Peer and Adult Mentors and Mentees, enjoyed a casual morning meal getting to know each other.
“Sayville High School had had a mentoring program for a long time, but it had been on hold in recent years,” explained Martha Kahan, Student Assistance Counselor, who upon joining Sayville Public Schools in 2012, was asked by Principal Ron Hoffer to reinstate it. “Fortunately, we had eleven adult volunteers whom we matched during the 2013-14 school year. But it has always been my vision to extend mentoring to include upper classmen. I have been absolutely amazed at the reaction I’ve gotten from students willing to volunteer their time to help guide and support incoming freshmen. We have 24 matches and in spite of a few bumps, the program is going well, far exceeding my expectations.”
Eleventh-grader, Danielle Rimmelin expressed her reason for becoming a Peer Mentor. “I’ve faced a lot of difficult times and through my experience I hope to help others cope with their challenges.”
Recognizing the value of Mentoring programs, Mr. Hoffer remarked. “The impact of our student-to-student mentorships is tremendously beneficial to both the mentors and mentees. These relationships further strengthen the social and moral fabric of our high school community.”
Excited about the upcoming year, Ms. Kahan emphasized, “I could not do this without the support of my colleagues, Jen Doddato and Betsy Quinlan, who have assisted in the development, training, and supervision of this program.”
Mentor-Mentee activities will be ongoing throughout the school year as a way of acclimatizing and including all students through this positive program.