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Liberty Middle School implements peer mentoring program

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Walk through the halls of Liberty Middle School on any given day and you’re likely to find a sea of “kindness cards” gracing the walls.

In class, students automatically sit down and pull out their supplies without any prompting from the teacher.
At recess, five girls stand huddled together. They didn't really talk much before, but now that they know more about each other, they're self-proclaimed "new best friends."

In lunch, students clamor for a chance to hug or high five a mentor from Liberty High School and tell him or her about their upcoming basketball game or plans to bake cookies for a friend.

These are just a few of the tangible signs that Liberty Middle School (LMS) is living up to its mission to help its students set goals, build character and develop a kind and respectful attitude.

In January, LMS introduced a mentoring program that matches Liberty High School seniors with middle school students. Mentors act more like siblings or friends, rather than parents or teachers, and visit students during lunch to spend time together. Students may talk about class, do homework or talk about their personal concerns, but it’s also perfectly fine to shoot hoops or play on the playground.

“I thought that our students could benefit from seeing high school students as role models. We like to have seniors serve as mentors, because the middle schoolers can easily relate to their peers in high school,” LMS Interim Assistant Principal Arleene Siegel said. “I think they feel more secure talking to their peers who recently went through what they are facing now.”

Before they become mentors, seniors take part in training sessions provided by Thomas J. Ellison, Prevention Specialist at the Sullivan County BOCES that guides mentors on their roles, responsibilities and ways to build relationships and strengthen listening skills. The mentoring program also counts towards community service.

“I think the program is fantastic because students from both schools benefit. Our seniors are learning that helping others through community service can not only be fun, but uplifting,” Liberty Middle/High School Principal Jack Strassman said.

In the coming weeks, the mentoring program will extend to middle school reading classes.

For more information about the mentoring program, contact the middle school’s main office.

LMS Mentor Program

Last month, Liberty Middle School introduced a mentoring program that matches Liberty High School seniors with middle school students. Mentors act more like siblings or friends, rather than parents or teachers, and visit students during lunch to spend time together.

Posted by Liberty Central School District on Thursday, February 11, 2016

 

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