Bucyrus Secondary develops students through Peer Mentoring Program

What started out as a test program last school year has developed into a vibrant source of help and peer connection. Bucyrus Secondary School started a peer mentoring program with high school mentors meeting with middle school mentees. According to Kaylene Love, Peer Mentorship program coordinator, there are currently 19 high school mentors and 18 middle school mentees, and the program is set to continue to grow. 

Mentor pairs meet during the Afterschool Program, Monday through Thursday,to work on homework, games, crafts, and goal setting and character-building activities. “Ideally, we’d like to be able to provide a peer mentor for every middle school student in the school,” explains Love, “but logistically with the bell schedule, the only time they can meet is after school, so it’s easiest forus to give the students in the Afterschool Program mentors.” The goal is to positively impact both the mentor and the mentee academically, emotionally, andsocially. Sixth grade students are paired with sophomores and 7th grade students with juniors so they can have the same mentor all throughout middle school. The students are always supervised by staff members, and the mentors are trained before they begin mentoring. 

“The peer mentoring program is such a valuable asset to both our high school and middle school students,” says Beth Constantine, district family advocate. “It allows our high school students to develop healthy, positive relationships with their mentees. This requires them to make positive choices in their personal lives so that they can serve as role models to the younger students.” At the same time, the middle school students benefit from the connections made through their peer mentors, knowing there is an older student who cares about them and can answer questions and offer support when needed.Middle school students in the Afterschool Program who do not have a mentor still get the advantages of the program because when the high school mentors attend field trips, they interact with all the kids, not just their mentee. 

Love said the benefits have been numerous. “For the mentors, it has helped them step out of their comfort zone and work on their empathy skills.For the mentees, their school work has improved, and discipline issues have decreased. If they have homework, we always have them work on that first sothey can turn their homework in on time, which, when late, leads to detention.”When the younger student does find themselves facing a detention, their mentors are trained to talk to them about it and discuss what they could do differently next time, so they don’t get in trouble in the future. “The middle school students really look forward to seeing their mentor on a weekly basis,” saysLove. “For many of them, it’s the highlight of their week.”

For more information or questions about the program, please contact Kaylene Love at klove@bucyrusschools.org.