District Administration July 2018 - 56

Freshman Seminar/Senior
Mentoring Program

Cumberland Regional School District
Bridgeton, New Jersey
CHALLENGE: The greatest
failure rate in high school
occurs in ninth grade, and
students who fail ninth grade
are 50 percent less likely to
graduate. At-risk students
need to strengthen academic
and social-emotional skills to
successfully navigate the transition to high school.
INITIATIVE: In the Freshman Seminar/Senior Mentoring program at Cumberland
Regional High School,
seniors are assigned ninthgraders to mentor. This peer
support includes tutoring,
and guidance in relationshipbuilding, decision-making,
social awareness and self-

management. Seniors also
conduct daily organizational
checks, weekly conferences
and notebook checks to help
ninth-graders stay on track.
"The program's innovative nature has supported
unprecedented success in
the targeted areas of positive
behaviors, academic success,
absenteeism and on-time
graduation," says Lauren
Taniguchi, the district's coordinator of grants and communications.
IMPACT: The program has
reduced suspensions, courses
failed and absences. Among
the 63 freshmen participating in fall 2017, four students

PEER SUPPORT-At-risk freshmen at Cumberland Regional
High School are paired with senior mentors who provide
academic and social-emotional support.

were suspended, four failed
courses, and three students
accumulated more than six
absences. At-risk freshmen
not participating in the program were suspended eight
times and failed 27 courses;
20 accumulated more than
six absences.
ADVICE: All district staff

should understand the goals
of the program, as teachers
serve as vital partners in supporting the mentor-mentee
relationships. The senior
mentors also must be selected
carefully and well-trained
in the expected outcomes.
Finally, administrators should
consider mandating the program as a credit-bearing class.

Social-Emotional Learning
Stepping Stones Kindergarten

Community Consolidated School District 180
Burr Ridge, Illinois
CHALLENGE: In a district with more than 80 percent of
students identified as low-income, many children entered
kindergarten unprepared. Students struggled and exhibited
behavior problems, and were eventually referred to special
education and considered for retention.
INITIATIVE: The Stepping Stones kindergarten program
assures first-grade readiness for all students. An additional
kindergarten teacher-licensed in both general education
and special education-serves in multiple classes to support
special education students, to provide interventions and to
ensure IEP plans are followed. The teacher also provides
separate instruction in social, emotional and academic areas
for about a dozen students who have been identified as defi-

56 July 2018

cient in readiness skills. Parents also come to the classroom
for education sessions.
IMPACT: Although the program is only finishing its first
year, "we are beginning to bridge the gap between kindergarten and first grade," says Kathleen Briseno, director of special
education. A number of students who received extra support
have been reintegrated to their full classes.
ADVICE: Monitor students and the program to determine if
the delivery approach is congruent with the purpose. Provide
integrated experiences that embed language development,
literacy, social-emotional growth and traditional subjects
in a play-driven, hands-on learning environment.

District Administration



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration July 2018

District Administration July 2018 - 1
District Administration July 2018 - Cover1
District Administration July 2018 - Cover2
District Administration July 2018 - 1
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District Administration July 2018 - Cover3
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