| Read, Lead, Succeed (Pilot Phase)
The overarching goal of the Read, Lead and Succeed Program is to improve literacy levels within the Southern region. This program aims to accomplish this goal by focusing on four groups: Future literacy educators, middle school students, elementary school students and parents. The program is based on the understandings that fluency is directly impacted by how much a child reads and is read to and that younger children admire and often imitate older students. The program also addresses the need for college students who are literacy educators in training to have supervised hands on experience.
The program assigns educators in training with either a middle school student or an elementary school student. The educators are responsible for preparing lessons and lesson plans that they will implement with their student. Each middle school student becomes a “Reading Leader” and is paired with an elementary school student. The pair which includes one middle school student and one elementary school student reads together throughout the duration of the program. A program supervisor is responsible for the pairing of the educators with the students and for assessing the reading levels and content interests of the students.
Conflict Resolution/Peer Mediation (Pilot Phase)
The Conflict Resolution/Peer Mediation Program is based on the understanding that empowering students to resolve their own conflicts can produce long-lasting resolutions. This program includes lessons and activities that can be used to teach students conflict resolution skills. This program can improve a school’s learning environment and contribute to the academic success of the students.
Peer mediation is a positive alternative to aggressive behavior and ensures that students are given the necessary skills and support of their peers to resolve conflicts peacefully. The process of peer mediation encourages students to talk through their conflicts and work together to arrive at a peaceful resolution. Peer mediation relies on a cohort of trained student mediators to work in pairs and mediate conflicts among their peers. Each student has the opportunity to voice their position and be heard. Mediation encourages the students to generate possible resolutions—not on proving who is right/wrong. The peaceful resolution of conflicts advances a culture of communication over violence in our schools, families, communities and the world at large.
You can read more about the implementation of this program at Blackburn Middle School here. The program has been named TAP by the mediators from Blackburn Middle School. They chose to name the program TAP as an acronym for their message: Talk About the Problems. The name also refers to the ability of wrestlers to TAP OUT when they are ready to stop fighting.
The Health Express (Pilot Phase)
“Kids in the South are leading the way to a healthier future.”
It would be nice to see that as the headline, instead of the usual headlines: children in the South are the most likely in nation to be obese, to have diabetes, to have high blood pressure, and so on. When it comes to health and wellness, our region leads the nation in the race to the bottom.
But things are changing, and you can be a part of that change. The new initiative by the Department of Community Engagement—Health Express—is a peer-to-peer health education program. Rather than simply delivering messages about health to children, this initiative empowers students; it is the youth who implement the program, including the creation of their very own Health Express Magazine, published in-print and online.
Health Express will:
- Get accessible, fun information about health to students and families. The magazine will be distributed to public school students and their families, and will include online and hands-on opportunities to explore wellness.
- Build new skill sets for students—and not just when it comes to healthy living. The students involved in the publication of the magazine acquire health-related knowledge that they may not have learned otherwise, and they simultaneously learn how to research and locate relevant health information, how to write and edit articles, and how to effectively communicate information to a wide audience.
- Provide students with leadership opportunity. In this program, middle school students become ambassadors for healthy living, and challenge themselves and others to change unhealthy habits.
Please visit our Health Express blog, and contact Malkie Schwartz for additional information on the initiative or to become a sponsor of Health Express Magazine. Malkie can be reached at 601-362-6357 or firstname.lastname@example.org.