As I announced 3 weeks ago, I am part of an incredible team of leaders with the Rotary Club’s DeSoto County Family Youth Initiative who are working to bring educational and mentoring programs to the schools in our county. One of the programs that we are currently raising money for is the Peer Power Program, which we will be implementing at Southaven High School this year.
Peer Power is a nonprofit that recruits and trains older, higher-performing students to tutor and mentor their peers. The program supports creativity in the school while enhancing academic competition.
Peer Power takes as its model the one-room schoolhouse. The only way one teacher could help students of varying ages, abilities and achievement levels was by using older, higher-performing students to help younger, less-advanced ones.
Asking today’s teachers in our most distressed schools to deal with 30 or more students per class, many of whom are two-five grade levels behind and dealing with issues away from school, is unrealistic. Peer Power helps by reducing the student-teacher ratio to providing classroom teachers with two or three assistants. They give each professional teacher more time for classroom management and individualized instruction.
The video, that I am sharing below, is from actual Peer Power participants in the Memphis area, talking about the way Peer Power helps with bullying in their school. Peer Power is about helping students achieve greater academic success, but it is also about forming an in-school family unit that supports one another and works together as a support system for each other. The mentoring provided through the program goes beyond just that of academics. This is one of the many reasons that I am so excited for this program to be a part of our school district. Our students need mentoring, academic support, and a team of people helping them to overcome obstacles and achieve academic success.
Thinking about the students who have taken their own lives in our community over the last 2-3 years, it breaks my heart and solidifies in my mind the need for more programs like Peer Power in our schools. It’s time for the community to join together with us and tackle these issues for the sake of our students’ futures.
Click on the link below to watch the video.