The Transitions Peer Leadership ProgramPROGRAM DESCRIPTION
The Transitions Peer Leadership program is entering its seventh year at James Caldwell High School. The program trains forty-four juniors and seniors (who enroll in a two-semester, weekly class) to mentor and provide educational outreach to 9th grade students on a variety of topics pertaining to social and emotional health.
Our peer leaders work in teams. Each team is coached by one of four trained faculty advisers. Each pair of peer leaders mentors a designated group of ten-twelve 9th graders over the course of the school-year through scheduled participation (or "outreaches") in 9th grade Physical Education and Health classes. The program expands the impact of curriculum by creating a forum for student leadership, role modeling and mentoring.
The Transitions Peer Leadership program is a curriculum-based mentoring program developed by the Princeton Center for Leadership Training. The model of this program is similar to that of Resident Adviser programs in colleges & universities. Transition Peer Leaders strive to be accessible, supportive mentors to younger students.
Typically, the Transitions program receives two-three times the number of applications as open positions, so acceptance into the program is quite competitive. We seek leaders who are authentic, dynamic and demonstrate an ability to “think outside of the box” – in addition to expressing a strong desire to developing their own leadership skills.
Transitions Peer leaders participate in an intensive, two-day training retreat in the summer. They also enroll in a weekly class with a faculty adviser where they receive training and coaching in such topics as group facilitation, presentation skills, peer counseling and leadership. Peer leaders prepare for and conduct monthly outreaches to a designated group of 9th grade students on a variety of issues, such as coping with stress, time management, peer pressure and coping with change.
Although Transitions Peer Leaders do not receive academic credit for their participation in the program, the weekly class is noted (pass/fail) on their final transcript. Members of this program demonstrate a desire to provide service to our community while mentoring and supporting other students. They are committed to developing themselves as leaders.
The Transitions Peer Leadership program is an ideal avenue to address issues affecting school climate, as it promotes “cross-pollination” of communication and ideas between students across grade levels under the structured guidance of skilled, trained faculty advisers.