R.O.Y.A.L.S, Student2Student2Succeed Peer Mentoring Model and I AM College READY
MISSION and PURPOSE
Family Learning Solutions, Inc. (FLS) aims to support entire school community, improve classroom management, match students with resources to facilitate academic achievement and create career pathways for motivated high school students. FLS has utilized traditional and non-traditional strategies to improve student outcomes. Over 20 years of implementing interventions to youth struggling with academic performance, FLS found that older and same-age peer to peer mentoring and tutoring is the most effective and cost-efficient approach.
IACR, ROYALS and Student2Student2Succeed is an outgrowth of group mentoring that Family Learning Solutions (FLS) implemented over 20 years. FLS proudly served youth in a housing community in Silver Spring for 10 years. A federal grant through U.S. Department of Mentoring allowed us to secure a multi-state AmeriCorps*Digital Divide grant. With these two funders, we placed 15 AmeriCorps Members in local schools. The elementary students enjoyed impressive results. Students improved two letter grades in every class that was a part of this initiative. Our Peer Mentoring Model is a model for attaining High School Graduation, College Admission and Graduation.
R.O.Y.A.L.S. (RESPONSIBLE OUTGOING YOUNG ADULT LEADERS SUCCEEDING), created by a group of Gaithersburg High School (Gaithersburg, Maryland) female students to serve their community and improve their academic, emotional and career outcomes are true leaders. R.O.Y.A.L.S. lead mentoring activities during summer and after-school at local schools. With a summer grant from MCPS, the R.O.Y.A.L.S. led mentoring activities for middle school students at Neelsville Middle School in Germantown, Maryland. R.O.Y.A.L.S. also perform community service at their school and in the community.
STUDENT2STUDENT2SUCCEED creates a career pathway for high school and college students via placement in classrooms with younger students. Student internships provide work place experience. It also serves as a community service activity. Importantly, older students in-class profoundly impact school climate and specifically, classroom productivity.
I AM College READY (IAMCR), focuses on high school students, linking older and same age peers, to support each other with their efforts to reach college and graduate from college.
The Peer Mentoring Model is a proven effective supervised group model, which allows peers, under adult supervision, to serve as leaders and freely discuss solutions to obtaining academic and career goals in a school setting. Youth are empowered to access essential services necessary to succeed in high school. Both youth and their parents receive necessary information regarding the college process from high school grades, SAT’s, financial aid, college majors, and college tours. As a result, the youth are empowered to participate during their high school years and develop the confidence to aim for higher education. Parents are informed about the realistic options available and are able to support their children’s efforts at attaining college or post-high school educational training.
I AM COLLEGE READY established a model of group mentoring at several schools that relied on high school students demonstrating achievement to lead discussions with peers in a group setting during or after school hours. Students who have demonstrated successful problem-solving skills are rewarded and in turn make a positive contribution to their community. Peer mentoring is staff supervised by dedicated Coordinators. Partnerships with schools supports Montgomery County Public School (MCPS) Employee participation and leadership during program hours. Thus, FLS program staff and MCPS staff are present during programming, which reinforces the importance of formal education and individual academic goals. During program hours, Montgomery College students and high school students experience the benefits of community service by serving as speakers and group leaders. This unique opportunity allows students to gain valuable teaching experience and life lessons. Selected high school students attend supervised and organized field trips to local colleges. High School youth receive essential academic support to succeed in school. Group mentoring and tutoring services are provided during after-school hours at the school and program staff led peer mediation services are provided during school hours.
Family Learning Solutions, (FLS), Inc. was founded in 1997, by Dr. Lori Melman, Ph.D., LCSW-C to address gaps in academic achievement in Montgomery County. FLS improves academic and social skills among participants to the level necessary for productive and self-sufficient adult living. FLS implemented a comprehensive youth development program at a housing community to provide effective academic, enrichment and supportive services in a physically accessible location, which ensured accessibility to the “hardest to reach” and “most in need” youth and families.
Dr. Melman implemented college readiness programming via the peer-leadership-mentoring model to school students enrolled in Montgomery County public schools, within their community or at their school, which ensures access to hardest to serve youth (youth without transportation and limited parent availability)
COST-EFFECTIVENESS and INVESTMENT/OUTCOMES RATIO
A Model for attaining College Admission
The investment to outcomes ratio of the Peer Mentoring Model makes it by far one of if not the most cost efficient college readiness programs in the United States. The outcomes of this program demonstrate an approximate $500 per year per student investment. Throughout its existence, Family Learning Solutions programming has proven their capacity to accomplish community based mentoring for the least amount of funding. Making this program one of the most cost-effective mentoring/tutoring programs in the United States.
That being said, the number one goal of the I AM College READY, ROYALS and STUDENT2STUDENT2SUCCEED program is to reach thousands more deserving youth.