It’s time to Show Up!

By: Christine Harris, Center for Supportive Schools

Attendance is an essential ingredient of academic success and chronic absence often spikes in the 9th grade. This year, 12 high schools across Baltimore City will implement Peer Group Connection (PGC) to help engage 9th grade students and inspire them to Show Up! to school and achieve to their greatest potential.

Developed by the Center for Supportive Schools (CSS), PGC is an evidence-based peer group mentoring program designed to ease the transition from middle to high school and help incoming students feel safe and connected to school. Selected upperclassmen are trained to serve as peer leaders and meet once per week with small groups of freshmen. These weekly mentoring sessions are designed to enhance students’ sense of connectedness to school and their academic, social, and emotional skills such as critical thinking, goal setting, and teamwork. Students also learn how to balance school work with other responsibilities, and to avoid violence, drugs, and other risks.

The following Baltimore City high schools are part of our national network of PGC schools:

  • Academy of College & Career Exploration
  • Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women
  • Baltimore Polytechnic Institute
  • Carver Vocational Technical High School
  • Coppin Academy High School
  • Digital Harbor High School
  • Forest Park High School
  • Mergenthaler Vocational Technical High School
  • New Era Academy
  • Paterson High School
  • Paul Lawrence Dunbar High School
  • Reginald F. Lewis High School

The theme of Showing Up! is emphasized throughout the PGC curriculum. Peer leaders are charged with showing up to support their 9th grade mentees. This means literally being present in school and leading by example. This goes beyond the weekly sessions and includes the formal and informal ways peer leaders and staff can support 9th graders and each other during the year. At the end of last year, a graduating Coppin Academy PGC peer leader offered the following reflection, “I think I was able to help brighten some of the freshmen’s views on how important school is and how what you do during those four years can determine your future.”

In celebration of Attendance Awareness Month, we wish to acknowledge and thank the 206 Peer Leaders who will Show Up! for the approximately 1,400 freshmen in Baltimore City that will be impacted by Peer Group Connection.

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andrew September 17, 2015 Blog