Students Turn to One Another for Success This School Year

Published on
September 06, 2017

Students Turn to One Another for Success This School YearDo you remember the first few days or maybe even weeks of a new school year? Who would answer your questions honestly or without laughing? What were your teachers and the classes going to be like?

Barbourville Middle School and Union College students are teaming together once again to participate in the Partnership for Student Success (PASS) program during the 2017-18 academic year. In its second year, the initiative unites a mentor and mentee to help young people thrive inside and outside of the classroom.

“We all recall that middle school years present some unique challenges for students, teachers and families,” notes Jim Tackett, Forward in the Fifth executive director. “This program provides supports to assist with academic challenges through mentoring, tutoring, college and career readiness, goal setting, and social development, just to name a few. Creating a strong foundation for students now will serve them well for future endeavors.”

The structure of the program allows flexibility for the students to individually address relevant topics and supports as they need throughout the school year. Mentors and mentees will meet weekly and may include help with homework, attending classes together, test preparation or just having time to navigate through life’s obstacle course. Twelve students will participate in this year’s program.

While an initial glance at PASS may appear to yield results primarily for the middle school students, the program has been crafted to generate multiple benefits for participating college students also. Working with the Kentucky Educational Professional Standards Board, Union College’s Educational Studies Unit uses the mentoring opportunity to incorporate relevant pre-professional experiences into educational candidates’ training.

Union students in the PASS program have the additional fortune of interacting with current educators to better understand curriculum design, varied instructional and assessment strategies, technology integration and classroom management skills. For these mentors who are entering the field of education, these opportunities portray a realistic picture of classroom expectations and student experiences impacting learning.

“PASS offers a true glimpse of what the life of an educator entails today,” states Dr. Jason Reeves, Dean of Educational Studies at Union College.  “Seeing first-hand the roles a teacher must fulfill differs sometimes from what we read about or expect. This is an opportunity for our prospective teaching candidates to understand a lifelong commitment and the impact they can have on so many lives.” 

The PASS program is made possible through collaboration with Barbourville Independent Schools, Union College and Forward in the Fifth starting more than three years ago.

Launch of the PASS program began last week as mentors and mentees met for the first time in the Barbourville High library. In addition to the weekly sessions, the group will select and implement a community service project and explore Union’s campus during the year.

“This program uniquely addresses the needs of our younger middle school students by providing them a role model and friend at a critical time in their lives,” says Brandon Hillard, Family Resource Director for Barbourville Independent Schools. It also allows potential educators to become familiar with our school staff and system, which is nothing but a positive.”