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Cardinal Nation

What is a Cardinal Peer Leader?

Read about who they are and what they do
What is a Cardinal Peer Leader?

Last year Mrs. Sianez Johnson, the Unit Principal for students with last names Roz-Z, wanted to create a group of Mentor’s best and have them go in the classroom and help make everyone become better students. This led to her creating Cardinal Peer Leaders, which she envisioned as students going in and helping other classes when they have free periods.

However, it became much more – from helping the elementary and middle schools to tutoring individual students. This makes the program that much more flexible. Everyone can find their place as a Cardinal Peer Leader and thrive.

This past school year I was in a U.S. History class and it was so rewarding because I had the ability to see kids grow and blossom. The productivity in the class went up so much. Most of the time the reason students were not completing the work needed for the class was because they simply were confused. They were often afraid to ask the teacher for clarification because they felt it had already been explained and they just were not listening. We have all been in class and missed information about an assignment and knowing I helped someone solve the problem made me feel accomplished.

Teachers also benefit from this program. Cardinal Nation had the ability to meet with the teachers who had a peer leader in their class this past year.

Cardinal Nation: Why did you want to have a peer leader in your class?

Mrs. Davis:  I wanted someone to work with their fellow students to help them better understand the lessons with more 1:1 feedback.

Mrs. Morris: I wanted to have a Cardinal Peer Leader in my class so I could have an extra pair of eyes, ears, and hands in the classroom at all times.  I figure it is a win, win, win for everyone!

Mrs. Parcell: I wanted to have a peer leader in my class because I thought students would work well with a peer and an extra set of hands with writing is always helpful.

Mrs. Robishaw: I wanted to have a peer leader in my class to help with our lower-functioning students. Having a peer leader was a good way to get an extra set of hands while also giving the students a peer to emulate.

Cardinal Nation: How did the peer leader help in your class?

Mrs. Davis: The peer leader was able to explain and clarify directions with students 1:1. She also participated in group activities and helped cue or prompt students to complete activities/assignments/group work correctly.

Mrs. Morris: My Cardinal Peer Leader last year was awesome. He helped my class in so many ways. He did everything from  walking around and answering math questions in real time during class, to showing students how to use their graphing calculator, to catching students up on topics missed due to an absence to assisting with clerical work like passing out or collecting papers, erasing a board, or taking attendance.

Mrs. Parcell: The peer leader usually helped with essays and projects. Reading and reading assignments were a little more challenging.

Mrs. Robishaw: Our peer leader was able to connect with one student in particular and motivate him to complete assignments.

Cardinal Nation: Do you plan on having a peer leader in your class again?

Mrs. Davis: Yes

Mrs. Morris: Absolutely!

Mrs. Parcell: I do plan to have a peer leader again this year.

Mrs. Robishaw: I think we would like to have a peer leader in our class again this year.

Cardinal Nation: How do you think the peer leaders can be more effective?

Mrs. Davis: The peer leader in my classroom last year was very effective.  She was a positive role model and always willing to help students.  I am hoping that the peer leader in my classroom this year is just as effective.

Mrs. Morris: In my opinion, there are three things Cardinal Peer Leaders can do to be effective. They can bring a positive attitude, wear a big smile, and never sit down. My students need to know that you are just there to help anyone and everyone who needs it and you are happy to do it. 🙂

Mrs. Parcell: I think it will be more effective this year because I have created a few different lessons/activities that allow them to be more involved, and I am hoping to get a student who was in my class last year, so they know how I grade and what I look for.

Mrs. Robishaw: To help the peer leaders be more effective, I think it would be helpful if we had a more formal meeting beforehand and discussed the expectations from the teacher to the peer leader.

After talking with the teachers we sat down with some of the peer leaders and asked them about their experience.

Cardinal Nation: Why did you choose to be a Cardinal Peer Leader?

Angelina Futchi: I chose to be a Cardinal Peer Leader to help students who don’t like adult help or are better at understanding when someone around their age can help them understand something better.

Mary Jane Burnette: I wanted to help students at my school while also getting community service hours.

Cardinal Nation: What do you think made you a particularly effective peer leader?

Angelina Futchi: I think what made me an effective Cardinal Peer Leader was that I was always ready to help no matter what type of work it was. I would always try to figure it out with them.

Mary Jane Burnette: I had taken the class prior, and I knew what and how most kids were thinking.

Cardinal Nation: How did you like the particular class you were in this past year?

Angelina Futchi: The class that I worked with was small but I loved it and all the kids were nice and I loved to help them get their work done especially when they didn’t think they could. I loved Cardinal Peer Leaders and hope it benefits my future!

Mary Jane Burnette: I loved it! I bought them donuts on the last day.

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About the Contributor
Quinn Fuerst
Quinn Fuerst, Staff contributor
Quinn Fuerst is a sophomore involved in Speech and Debate and Future Leaders.