G. W. Trenholm Primary School

Jun 28, 2022 by Anita Reid

Tiger Buddies Mentoring

School of Distinction AwardTuscumbia City Schools

Principal, Mrs. Veronica Bayles

Superintendent, Mr. Darryl Aikerson

Research has shown students who participate in mentoring programs learn how to set healthy boundaries and build high quality trusting relationships. Mentoring programs have helped students learn to identify strengths and weaknesses, set long and short-term goals, and manage at-risk behaviors that are barriers to success. Tiger Buddies was a unique mentor program designed to support at-risk students. Tiger Buddy volunteers consisted of school faculty and staff, community members, and local high school students. Tiger Buddy mentors were carefully partnered with our students based on interest areas and personality. G. W. Trenholm Primary students were identified through recommendation from our Problem-Solving Team and chosen based on the following criteria: attendance/chronic absenteeism/truancy, poverty level, academic and behavioral concerns, Social Emotional Learning and mental health concerns, and at-risk home environment. Tiger Buddy mentors used the 2 by 10 mentoring method which is a scientifically researched Multi-tiered System of Support intervention strategy designed to build rapport and trust. Buddies met for two minutes for ten consecutive days which provided a consistent level of support as students developed these high-quality trusting relationships outside the regular education classroom. The school counselor provided mentors a list of open-ended questions to prompt conversation and dialogue. Each quarter, Tiger Buddies also participated in themed crafts and holiday activities. Since implementation, G. W. Trenholm Primary has seen a dramatic decrease in office referrals and chronic absenteeism.