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Carving up a pumpkin teaches sculpture-making skills to PCS kindergartners, from left, Keyerah Lane, Sophia Marquez and Everett MacDonald who enjoy the “buddy” mentoring program that pairs sixth-grade students like Nala Lowry, center. Photos submitted

PCS ‘buddy’ program builds skills with mentor approach

PCS kindergartner Sophia Marquez, left, plays a number-building skill game with sixth grader Aiden Vaughn, as part of the buddy program on campus.

Hey, ain’t it good to know you gotta friend? Yes, it is, and students at Plumas Charter School are benefitting from a positive mentoring program that pairs the school’s sixth-graders with kindergartners to create unique “buddy” relationships.

Teacher Inge Stock reports that having the student-buddy teams spend time reading, playing music and working together on projects is a fun way for older grade levels to interact with the younger ones.

The students also learn from one another while spending time at school events and working on math games, to name just a few of the PCS buddy program’s activities.

School-based mentoring programs have a substantial history of improving academic performance.

According to the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory’s American Institutes for Research, studies find that students who are mentored develop more positive attitudes toward school, tend to achieve higher grades in their studies and experience a boost in self-confidence.

In addition, Brian P. Gatens, superintendent of schools for the Emerson Public School District in Emerson, New Jersey, has written extensively on the topic of student mentor program advantages. In a February 2016 article for Concordia University in Portland, Oregon, he stated, “Helping your students to understand the big picture of their academic experience is key in keeping them engaged in school. Pairing students together is one of the more effective ways to mentor younger students.”

PCS staff agree and say that spending time together — whether it’s making origami or playing games and building skills in reading, math, social studies or English language arts — helps students form positive “buddy” relationships and makes learning fun.

Origami lessons teach spatial skills in a fun way as PCS sixth-grade student Jamie Sanderson, center, mentors kindergartners Adah Washburn, left, and Charlotte Lazalde.

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