Mentoring programs in middle school

This year at Marietta Middle School our theme as a staff and also throughout our school is teamwork. When we all work together and are on the same page, we can get a lot accomplished. Each day, we want our students to know that we care about them and that they have an adult that they can count on. For the second year in a row, we have a mentor/mentee program at the middle school that pairs a staff member with a group of students. Last year, we started M&M (mentor and mentee) which met once every nine weeks. This year, we have changed this M&M group to meet once a week. The purpose of our Mentor and Mentee program is to help our students have someone that will help them create goals, review their grades, focus on character education, and build a trusting relationship.

Every Wednesday students meet with their mentor for a thirty minute session that ranges from the topics above. The mentors which consist of teachers at MMS have about fifteen students in each group. Each group will remain together for the three years while they are at the middle school and have the same mentor for all of those three years. For example, right now the eighth grade students this year had the same mentor that they had last year which was a seventh grade teacher. While this program is to build relationships and make connections, it also provides us another opportunity in the school day to focus on academics in various ways.

One way that we focus on academics through this program is working on a STEM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Mathematics) project. M&M classes have the option to participate a school wide paper airplane project. With this project, the students are using research along with engineering in order to make a paper airplane for our school competition. Students will be competing for the farthest distance traveled, maximum time aloft and the best design. Not only does this allow our students to use their academic knowledge, but it also allows students to work together and problem solve with one another.

Along with our STEM project, we are also incorporating a school-wide read at the beginning of second semester. We were fortunate to receive a grant through Friends of the Library to allow us to purchase a book for each student. The book that we are focusing on is titled “Stargirl” by Jenny Spinelli. This book deals with the topic of accepting one another. In January, we will start reading this book during our mentoring time each week. Teachers will focus on the aspect of Language Arts along with teaching character education with lessons from this book. We are looking forward to using this book and discussing common themes among our students in order to create unity and remind everyone of the importance of accepting everyone for who they are. Again, we thank Friends of the Library for their donation so that we could have a school-wide read.

Along with our mentoring program, we are privileged to have a career mentoring program for our students at Marietta Middle School. We first want to thank all of the community members who have taken time out of their busy schedule in order to help our students. Through the career mentoring program, we have students that are paired up with a mentor that comes in and meets with them once a week. During this program, the mentors focus on the student’s goals as well as helping them think about their future. The career mentors are another person that are there for our students and a connection that they have within the community as well.

We all know that middle school can be a trying time for students as they determine who they are and where they are headed. Our goal every day is to focus on academics as well as helping our students become positive, productive members of society. Our mission statement at Marietta Middle School is toinspire excellence through example and opportunity. We will create a safe, nurturing, disciplined community that motives and enables all students to reach their fullest potential in order to become positive, productive members of society.We work to do this every day by providing students with other opportunities throughout the day that will allow them to expand their knowledge in character education by having various individuals that will help them throughout this process.

As the saying goes it truly does take a village to raise a child and we are grateful to live in such a wonderful village!

Brittany Schob is principal of Marietta Middle School.