M-Crew Aims to Help Incoming Freshmen
Incoming freshman, Megan Lawson is nervous about starting high school next year, but a newly available resource at MHS is calming some of her fears.
The Linked Crew organization works to make the transition between middle school and high school easier for all new students. After seeing the success of the organization at other RSD high schools, the MHS administration is introducing their own version of the organization, M-Crew, for the 2020-21 school year.
“I’m super nervous about starting high school next year,” Lawson said. “I’m glad I will have someone there to help me when I need it.”
Though middle school works to prepare students for high school, the experience is not the same and there could be a learning curve. M-Crew offers an outlet for student self-advocation and growth other than contacting their teacher or grade-level principal.
Lawson said discussing homework within the group as well as participating in the social activities would be beneficial to helping freshmen adapt to this new environment.
Freshman Principal Dr. Julie Spurgeon has been working to get the program implemented because she saw its results during her time at Lafayette High School.
“We want the freshmen to feel a sense of belonging because when kids feel that, then they want to jump into their high school,” Dr. Spurgeon said.
According to the OnBoard online training for this program, safety is a primary focus. It suggests assigning freshmen an older student mentor to address concerns and to provide a source of safety, which becomes more necessary with the negative situations that can arise in a virtual community.
Mentor applications were released to current juniors and sophomores Monday, April 12, and will close Friday, April 23.
Mentors go through many steps with their designated freshmen including group activities at Freshmen Orientation, academic follow-ups, social follow-ups and mentor contacts.
“There’s pieces that we already do, but then you put the layers of the different activities that we’ll be doing, different student transitions between administrators and their own mentor meetings,” Dr. Spurgeon said. “It’s just going to be awesome.”
With large group meetings, the plan is to address common issues such as how to get involved with clubs, Dr. Spurgeon said. However, each freshman will have the ability to contact his or her mentor whenever needed with questions they might have.
Staff members, such as Katy Drissell, American Sign Language teacher, were put through training where they were in the role of the student and were able to experience first-hand the effects of the group. This made them familiar with the process of how to train the new mentors.
“It was kind of an untraditional training,” Drissell said. “We learned how to be online, so now it’s going to be interesting to take that training and now we have to flip it back to in person.”
As one of the Student Council advisers, Drissell has been working closely with Dr. Spurgeon to help get as many students involved as possible.
“They’re looking for leaders within the building and Student Council has those leaders,” Drissell said.
M-Crew is looking for between 116 and 200 students to be involved as mentors, who will be picked from the applications sent out. The applications require general information such as name and grade level in addition to requesting activity involvement both in and out of school and the applicant’s reason for why they would be a good mentor.
New mentors will be notified if their application was accepted and training will begin Tuesday, August 10. Monthly meetings will be held for the groups as well as potentially outside of school activities such as attending sports events and tutoring.
Drissell said these freshmen students who become involved and feel this support also continue to thrive in their classes.
“Freshman seminar can only help them so much,” Drissell said. “It really does help to have that upperclassman that’s rooting for you.”