December 31, 2013
PALS (Partners in Active Learning Support) is a mentoring initiative between selected Northmor elementary students and volunteer FFA members.
After a hiatus of several years, PALS was brought back into existence the year we moved into our new building. Having all students under one roof makes scheduling the sessions between elementary students and high school students much easier. Currently we have 48 Little PALS matched with 46 Big PALS. The matches meet once every two weeks for 30 minutes at the end of the elementary school day. The program goals are to help the younger students have a positive and productive school experience. This is accomplished by building a caring, supportive relationship between mentor and mentee.
In November, the high school mentors received training in the areas of self-esteem, communication, and decision-making skills. In addition, we discussed the new Positive Behavior Support initiative that was put in place at the elementary level this year. The high school students became familiar with the Northmor Four: Compassion, Responsibility, Respect, and Safety. This year the PALS activities will focus on these four areas. As an example, during the December session Big PALS and Little PALS made Christmas cards that were dispersed to senior citizens in our community (compassion). In addition to the group activities, sessions my include time for homework help.
During the FFA Banquet in April, instructor, Ken Parrott, recognizes the PALS volunteers. These high school students are to be commended for this important community service to our school. They are excellent role models for the elementary students and we are grateful for their commitment to their Little PALS.