News Tyrone Daily Herald Archives

Buddy Program presented to TASB in Academic Spotlight; board conducts general business

The TASB’s monthly meeting last evening highlighted the high school’s “Buddy Program” in the Academic Spotlight portion of the agenda.
The Buddy Program is a mentorship program that pairs middle school students with high school students. Guidance Office Interns, Justin Kearns and Nicole Brooks are responsible for recruiting, coordinating and training of the high school students who participate.
The entire program is under the supervision of Middle School Guidance Counselor Matt Kimberlin. There are 16 pairings of students, creating 32 buddies in the program, by which that number will increase as the school year goes on, according to Kimberlin.
The goals of the Buddy Program is to provide middle school students the unique opportunity to build a one-on-one relationship with a selected high school student, to participate in activities that enhance and develop social skills, academic success and communication skills.
The high school students who get involved in the program do it solely on a voluntary basis, willing to help others, have out-going personalities and an excitement for life – along with going through a screening and training process.
Middle school students who are involved are recommended by teachers and counselors based on who would benefit from having a high school mentor. Parent permission is also required.
Eleventh grader Selena Bradigan and senior Nikki Moore, two of the high school’s “big buddy” students addressed the board last night about their experiences in working with the “little buddy” students of the middle school.
“It’s a great experience to work with little children and be involved,” said Moore.
Kimberlin said the program is important because there is a need at the middle school, stating that there are kids who are new to the district and have some social difficulties making friends. He feels that matching up high school students with such kids meets those needs for the kids.
He also said that there’s not enough adults at the school to meet the needs of the kids, so the program accesses high school students, who some of them are already training to be educators, social workers or service providers, and that provides so much to the kids and the high school students participating.
“It provides a closer gap in age,” said Kimberlin. “Sometimes an adult working with a fifth or sixth grader can be difficult; those kids see us sometimes as parent figures and sometimes they’re reluctant to talk.”
He added, “Our little buddies love this. We have so many kids who have some needs that are not being met at home, that the school might not be able to meet, but if we plug our resources at the high school, we can meet those needs – and we do it pretty well.”
Board President Lee Stover was really pleased with what he heard about the Buddy Program because there are young people helping young people, and he feels that sometimes a kid won’t open up to an older person or group, and this allows students one-on-one contact to voice their problems.
“The young individuals get help with very obvious shortcomings in a gentle and non-public fashion, and the big buddies get reinforcement of their skills and abilities, which may help them in their career tracks – it’s a very positive situation for us,” said Stover.
In other business in front of school board last night, the board accepted the retirement of elementary teacher Cynthia G. Albright, effective with the close of the 2007-08 school year. The board accepted the resignation of MaryAnn E. Volders as Senior High Dean of Students, effective January 11, 2008.
In turn, the board approved the transfer of Mark D. Mitchell from the position of Elementary Dean of Students to the position of High School Dean of Students, with no change in hours, rate of pay or benefits, effective January 14, 2008.
Certificates of Appreciation from the Executive Board of the PA School Boards Association (PSBA) were awarded to board members Norman E. Huff, 12 years of service; William P. Hartsock, eight years of service and Luther J. Laird, eight years of service.
The certificates recognized their years of service as a valued member of the TASB and it announced their membership to the PSBA Honor Roll of School Board Service.