By: Megan Gee
Peer mentoring took off this year to help freshmen transition from middle school to high school. Homer High School started peer mentoring to also make sure the freshmen earned all their credits to help them graduate when they are seniors.
Many universities all over the United States are using peer mentoring to help first-year college students transition from high school to college. The mentors at the universities are expected to be caring, thoughtful, and knowledgeable. Here at Homer High School the expectations are the same; the expectations may even be higher.
There were a total of 40 freshmen targeted for peer mentoring. Most of the targeted students were either failing classes or barely passing. Homer Middle School sent the list of 40 students to Mr. Gutzler and Mr. Story, and they narrowed down the list to 15-20 based on who really needed mentoring, and the amount of seniors willing to mentor. “This was a plan to help targeted freshmen transition,” said Mr. Gutzler.
The foremost goal for peer mentoring was to assist the transitioning students in earning their credits for graduation. They achieved this goal and more. The students who were given mentoring improved their GPA by 146% according to Mr. Gutzler. Mr. Gutzler and Mr. Story looked at 3 different groups of freshmen: ones with peers, ones who were on the targeted list without peers, and random students. The ones who were targeted, but did not have mentoring improved their GPA by about 30%. The random students did not achieve much improvement.
The reward for reaching their goals is a trip to visit University of Alaska Anchorage for the university’s preview day, and going to Alyeska to ski for another day. While at UAA’s preview day, they will be visiting classes ranging from geology to vocational classes. This will help the students choose whether or not they would like to attend college, and show them opportunities they may have never been able to see on their own. Then after all of that work they are going to have some fun, and play in the snow.