Pinon Hills Pals program helps students |

Pinon Hills Pals program helps students

Staff reports

The Pinon Pals program makes learning a little easier for some students.

A Pinon Pal, according to Pinon Hills Elementary School counselor Tracey Wagner, is an older student who assists younger students by being either a mentor or a tutor.

According to Wagner, the program benefits everyone involved.

The student being helped gains skills and builds a relationship with an older peer, which bolsters self-esteem. The helper – also known as a Pinon Pal – builds confidence in his or her own abilities. The classroom teacher benefits from the increase of one-to-one help for more students.

“The school benefits from the positive climate created by assisting one another,” Wagner said.

Pinon Pals began with two lunch trainings in December, and students began their mentoring and tutoring duties in January,

Trainers included Joan Gardner, PHES reading specialist, Debbie Davis, one of the school’s 5th-6h grade MAG teachers, and Wagner. Karen Whitely, one of the PHES 2nd grade teachers, put together math materials for the training.

Sixty students in grades 3-6 were chosen to participate in the program from over 100 applications.

“We were pleasantly surprised by the overwhelming interest,” Wagner said.

“When we began Pinon Pals, our committee never dreamed it would take off so well, with so many students willing to participate and be involved. It could not have happened without the support of our parents, administrator Nancy Bryant and staff.”

Tutors are assigned to a classroom and work closely with the teacher. Pullout time is during a non-academic time as determined by the tutor’s teacher and does not exceed 15 minutes per day.

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