Program to smooth transition process

By Kristy D. Carter - [email protected]

Clinton High School has plans to implement a program that will assist freshmen in successfully transitioning from the middle school into high school setting.

Officials plan to begin the Peer Group Connection program in August with the beginning of the 2017-18 school year. This program will allow senior mentors an opportunity to be positive role models for the entering freshmen and ensure they have a successful transition from eighth grade.

Through PGC, students will develop leadership skills, communication skills, learn how to problem solve, set goals, learn about school safety, the school’s climate and culture.

According to Faith Jackson, community liaison for Clinton City Schools, taking part in the nation-wide program will allow students at Clinton High School to transition from the middle school to high school with fewer problems.

“Clinton City Schools is committed to supporting students and helping them be successful,” Jackson explained. “Being a PGC will allow a further level of support for our students and assist in freshman transition.”

Another part of Peer Group Connection is improving the relationship between the parent and student and increasing the communication between the two. Students will be given the opportunity to open up and discuss topics that would otherwise not be discussed. Parents will get the chance to listen to the students and learn about the different issues their child may be facing in today’s society.

According to information provided by the school, PGC is an evidence-based program that supports and eases students’ successful transition from middle to high school. The program taps into the power of high school juniors and seniors to create a nurturing environment for incoming freshmen.

As part of the program, once per week, senior peer leaders meet with groups of 10-14 freshmen in outreach sessions designed to strengthen relationships among students across grades. These peer leaders are simultaneously enrolled in a daily, for-credit, year-long leadership course taught by school faculty during regular school hours.

“The freshmen will be taught by a senior peer,” Jackson said. “The senior peer will be able to gain credit for taking a class and becoming a peer mentor, which should assist in leadership development. Research has proven that when peers have peers they feel more supported and will thrive in high school with more ease.”

All high schools in Sampson County are participating in the program, and with huge success.

Midway High School began the program in 2014, and according to the advisors, the program opened the door for students, parents and staff to learn about different social issues students in today’s high school face.

When the program began at the local high school, staff said mentors and freshmen met once a week for a 45 minute session. During the sessions, a wide variety of issues came to light, some of the more important ones being family issues, acceptance among peers, relationships and internet safety.

A study conducted by Rutgers University and funded by the United States Department of Health and Human Services found that, among other major results, PGC improves the graduation rates of student participants in an inner city public school by 10 percentage points and cuts by half the number of male students who would otherwise drop out.

Peer Group Connection is an initiative started by the Center for Supportive Schools. CSS was founded in 1979 and has a 37-year history of changing life trajectories for students and affecting cultural transformations within schools. Nationally, CSS is one of a very few organizations with a focus on social and emotional learning that has a proven track record, spanning over three decades, of significant academic impact on students, educators and schools.

By Kristy D. Carter

[email protected]

Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.

Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.

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