An important wellness goal that has been established at Shorewood Intermediate School for the 2019-20 school year is to offer more clubs and activities that may be of interest to students. This wellness goal especially aims to identify students who would benefit from being paired with an adult advocate for additional support to achieve academic and personal growth.
With this in mind, the District’s Director for Equity Sam Coleman, in collaboration with Special Education teacher Samantha Prystawik, established a “Mentoring for Leadership” group for the strategic purpose of increasing students’ access to positive adults and role models.
“Our goal for this work is to create a meaningful space for students to feel a sense of belonging, build character, and develop leadership skills,” says Coleman. “We discuss topics such as masculinity, advocacy, teamwork, goals for academic and personal success, and positive self-identity.”
The group currently supports nine male students in eighth grade. The Mentoring for Leadership group meets at least once weekly (Mondays) during the guided study block for enrichment, opportunities to develop in character and citizenship, and to ensure students are connected with a trusted adult with whom they feel supported and affirmed by. In addition to the weekly club meetings, participating students may receive individual mentoring from the group leader if needed. Student participation in the group is voluntary, however, to support mentoring goals, students are encouraged to make an ongoing commitment to participate in the club.
In addition to the eighth grade group, there is also a seventh grade group that serves approximately ten male students. One SHS alum (Hasaan Blue) serves as a mentor and helps to facilitate the Monday sessions.
Below are written excerpts from student participants and a video of students sharing their experiences in the group with the School Board.
“This group is important to me because it keeps me motivated and It’s something positive I look forward to,” - Sam Hinshaw
“I like our group because I feel like I can be myself and no one judges me in a negative way for it.” - Alex Holt
“We have fun learning life lessons and growing closer together as brothers. Every week we have a challenge that we complete. I look forward to that part the most.” - Isaiah Dingman
“I can’t think of anything I’d change about the group. It’s perfect.” - Caleb Hinshaw
“The group helps me improve my leadership skills.” - Litnell Nash