Skip to main content

Indian Hills Eighth Grader Mentors Make Sixth Graders Feel Welcome

Nov 06, 2015 10:32AM ● Published by Bryan Scott

By Julie Slama

Sandy - When Canyons School District reconfigured their schools three years ago, bringing sixth grade to middle school and ninth grade to high school, former Indian Hills Middle School principal Floyd Stensrud had concerns.

“I worried that the eighth-grade students might fall through the cracks when they became ninth-grade students, meaning that they would suffer academically,” said Stensrud, who now is the district’s planning and enrollment director.

Working together with Alta High principal Brian McGill and district counselor Tori Gillett, they formulated a plan to coordinate and collaborate between the two schools.

“We all felt strongly that a connection needed to be made between the two schools in order for our students to remain successful,” he said.

So this year, Alta launched its LINK Crew, allowing upperclassmen to mentor its freshmen, and at Indian Hills, students, teachers and counselors introduced WEB, Where Everyone Belongs, which has eighth graders helping sixth graders, thus tying the program to hook the two schools together, Stensrud said.

“Teachers from both schools meet yearly to coordinate efforts and see each other’s world, so that there is a deeper understanding of academic and social needs that may have been missed otherwise, in addition to a mentoring piece that will keep the kids safe from bullying and establish a community of caring,” he said.

Teachers Samantha Sirrine and Katie Falk head the mentoring training program at Indian Hills, along with counselor Melissa Jones and school psychologist Brandon Segura, who oversees student guidance. 

The program began last spring when these educators attended training. In the summer, they, in turn, trained eighth graders who welcomed the sixth graders during orientation in August.

“Incoming eighth graders were identified by staff and faculty as being possible mentors and were sent letters, and many of our students saw ‘Come Get Caught in the WEB’ signs that invited students to learn what WEB was all about,” Sirrine said. “Some of the students who stepped up to be leaders were top leaders in the school, and some were students who may have been failing classes but wanted to make a difference.”

Falk said that WEB has helped those students to become leaders, do better in class and set examples for younger students.

“They’ve learned to take ownership of their role and communicate,” she said. “They’re wanting to change the culture of our school to make everyone feel welcome and accepted.”

As part of the WEB program, eighth-grade mentors helped with sixth-grade orientation, from team-building activities to school tours. The students divided into groups and leaders created themes for their groups, from Hawaiian to Minions.

“At first, many of them were shy and nervous and worried about having to call other students to invite them to orientation,” Sirrine said.

With all the social media, Falk said it’s unusual for students to actually make calls with a phone.

“It’s almost special for sixth graders to get a phone call now-a-days. We prepped the eighth graders for how a sixth grader would react, from being excited to feeling forced to attend orientation, but we realized these students could relate to one another better than we expected,” she said.

During the orientation, Sirrine said it was good to watch eighth graders become school leaders.

“They were so excited and it was fun to see their dynamics. They gave the sixth graders strategies how to survive middle school, such as not to share their locker combination and how to ask for help,” she said.

During the year, the mentors will teach mini-lessons in school strategies, as well as offer community service and social opportunities. For example, the WEB program will be over the school recycling program and help National Junior Honor Society with peer tutoring. They also will help with the school’s kindness campaign and hold social events during the year.

Sirrine also said that the mentors will check in periodically with the sixth graders.

“When we hear of sixth graders who may be struggling with a class or some issue, we’ll have the mentors check in to see how things are going. Often, we learn that these WEB leaders can solve it on their own,or will go back and double check to make sure things are going OK for these younger students,” she said.

Falk said that’s because often sixth graders feel more comfortable talking to their peers.

“They’ve seen these students in the hall and feel more comfortable talking to someone their own age. We’ve had less issues at lunch as ‘Where do I go?’ or ‘What do I do?’ because these mentors are there, helping. Same with knowing how to find a class or open a lock or asking for help,” she said.

At the same time as mentoring the sixth graders, Falk said these WEB leaders are learning to speak up, listen, build confidence, show communication skills, interact and collaborate with others, organize themselves and build life and social skills to become a well-developed person.

“It’s a program about positivity and changing our school culture, and we’re already seeing that start,” Falk said.

Stensrud said that to support the program, teachers Dave Selin and Ronald Halbert run an after-school program to help students who are at risk in three or more areas concerning attendance, grades and office referrals.

“Parents are an integral part of this whole program. Without parental support, this after-school program would not fly. National Junior Honor Society students volunteer to stay after school and assist these students with homework. We had great success with this last year. This is a secondary part to the WEB program, but a very important part the teachers and I created before WEB came along,” he said.

Education
  • Ascend Yoga Studio is Now Open!

    10/16/2017
    06:00AM

    Ascend is a brand new studio located on 726 E and 12200 S ste. F in Draper! We do heated as w...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    10/16/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • Ascend Yoga Studio is Now Open!

    10/18/2017
    06:00AM

    Ascend is a brand new studio located on 726 E and 12200 S ste. F in Draper! We do heated as w...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    10/18/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • Ascend Yoga Studio is Now Open!

    10/19/2017
    06:00AM

    Ascend is a brand new studio located on 726 E and 12200 S ste. F in Draper! We do heated as w...


  • R.C.I.A.

    10/19/2017
    06:45PM — 09:00PM

    Has your child, grandchild, friend ever ask you why Catholic believe this or do that? Can you exp...


  • Instruction Classes

    10/19/2017
    07:45PM — 09:00PM

    Has your child, grandchild, friend ever ask you why Catholic believe this or do that? Can you exp...


  • Ascend Yoga Studio is Now Open!

    10/20/2017
    06:00AM

    Ascend is a brand new studio located on 726 E and 12200 S ste. F in Draper! We do heated as w...


  • Freaky Friday's

    10/20/2017
    08:30AM — 09:15AM

    Zombies sing and dance to top Halloween Hits in this THRILLING Halloween show for the entire fami...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    10/20/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • Free Estate Planning for Senior Citizens

    10/20/2017
    10:00AM — 12:00PM

    The Utah State Bar's “Serving our Seniors" program seeks to empower senior citizens to take steps...


  • Freaky Friday's

    10/20/2017
    07:00PM — 07:45PM

    Clayton Productions Freaky Friday’s ALL HALLOWEEN SHOW is BACK ! With a new extended show, large...


  • Ascend Yoga Studio is Now Open!

    10/22/2017
    06:00AM

    Ascend is a brand new studio located on 726 E and 12200 S ste. F in Draper! We do heated as w...


  • theBRIDGE Church Grand Opening!

    10/22/2017
    10:00AM — 11:30AM

    Join us this Sunday at 10am @ the Daybreak Community Center in South Jordan, UT!


  • Halloween Service

    10/22/2017
    10:30AM — 11:30AM

    Join CrossPoint Church for their third annual Halloween service! Children and adults alike are en...


  • Ascend Yoga Studio is Now Open!

    10/16/2017
    06:00AM

    Ascend is a brand new studio located on 726 E and 12200 S ste. F in Draper! We do heated as w...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    10/16/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • Ascend Yoga Studio is Now Open!

    10/17/2017
    06:00AM

    Ascend is a brand new studio located on 726 E and 12200 S ste. F in Draper! We do heated as w...


  • Ascend Yoga Studio is Now Open!

    10/18/2017
    06:00AM

    Ascend is a brand new studio located on 726 E and 12200 S ste. F in Draper! We do heated as w...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    10/18/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • Ascend Yoga Studio is Now Open!

    10/19/2017
    06:00AM

    Ascend is a brand new studio located on 726 E and 12200 S ste. F in Draper! We do heated as w...


  • R.C.I.A.

    10/19/2017
    06:45PM — 09:00PM

    Has your child, grandchild, friend ever ask you why Catholic believe this or do that? Can you exp...


  • Instruction Classes

    10/19/2017
    07:45PM — 09:00PM

    Has your child, grandchild, friend ever ask you why Catholic believe this or do that? Can you exp...


  • Ascend Yoga Studio is Now Open!

    10/20/2017
    06:00AM

    Ascend is a brand new studio located on 726 E and 12200 S ste. F in Draper! We do heated as w...


  • Freaky Friday's

    10/20/2017
    08:30AM — 09:15AM

    Zombies sing and dance to top Halloween Hits in this THRILLING Halloween show for the entire fami...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    10/20/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • Free Estate Planning for Senior Citizens

    10/20/2017
    10:00AM — 12:00PM

    The Utah State Bar's “Serving our Seniors" program seeks to empower senior citizens to take steps...


  • Freaky Friday's

    10/20/2017
    07:00PM — 07:45PM

    Clayton Productions Freaky Friday’s ALL HALLOWEEN SHOW is BACK ! With a new extended show, large...


  • Ascend Yoga Studio is Now Open!

    10/21/2017
    06:00AM

    Ascend is a brand new studio located on 726 E and 12200 S ste. F in Draper! We do heated as w...


  • FREE Women's Self Defense Class

    10/21/2017
    11:00AM — 12:00PM

    Free Self Defense for women! The third Saturday of every month! We have tons of fun and learn a l...


  • Ascend Yoga Studio is Now Open!

    10/22/2017
    06:00AM

    Ascend is a brand new studio located on 726 E and 12200 S ste. F in Draper! We do heated as w...


  • theBRIDGE Church Grand Opening!

    10/22/2017
    10:00AM — 11:30AM

    Join us this Sunday at 10am @ the Daybreak Community Center in South Jordan, UT!


  • Halloween Service

    10/22/2017
    10:30AM — 11:30AM

    Join CrossPoint Church for their third annual Halloween service! Children and adults alike are en...


  • Ascend Yoga Studio is Now Open!

    10/23/2017
    06:00AM

    Ascend is a brand new studio located on 726 E and 12200 S ste. F in Draper! We do heated as w...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    10/23/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • Ascend Yoga Studio is Now Open!

    10/24/2017
    06:00AM

    Ascend is a brand new studio located on 726 E and 12200 S ste. F in Draper! We do heated as w...


  • Ascend Yoga Studio is Now Open!

    10/25/2017
    06:00AM

    Ascend is a brand new studio located on 726 E and 12200 S ste. F in Draper! We do heated as w...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    10/25/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • Ascend Yoga Studio is Now Open!

    10/26/2017
    06:00AM

    Ascend is a brand new studio located on 726 E and 12200 S ste. F in Draper! We do heated as w...


  • R.C.I.A.

    10/26/2017
    06:45PM — 09:00PM

    Has your child, grandchild, friend ever ask you why Catholic believe this or do that? Can you exp...


  • Godspell the Musical

    10/26/2017
    07:00PM

    Godspell was the first major musical theatre offering from Grammy and Academy Award winner, Steph...


  • Instruction Classes

    10/26/2017
    07:45PM — 09:00PM

    Has your child, grandchild, friend ever ask you why Catholic believe this or do that? Can you exp...


  • Ascend Yoga Studio is Now Open!

    10/27/2017
    06:00AM

    Ascend is a brand new studio located on 726 E and 12200 S ste. F in Draper! We do heated as w...


  • Freaky Friday's

    10/27/2017
    08:30AM — 09:15AM

    Zombies sing and dance to top Halloween Hits in this THRILLING Halloween show for the entire fami...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    10/27/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • Freaky Friday's

    10/27/2017
    07:00PM — 07:45PM

    Clayton Productions Freaky Friday’s ALL HALLOWEEN SHOW is BACK ! With a new extended show, large...


  • Ascend Yoga Studio is Now Open!

    10/28/2017
    06:00AM

    Ascend is a brand new studio located on 726 E and 12200 S ste. F in Draper! We do heated as w...


  • Rocktoberfest

    10/28/2017
    06:00PM — 08:00PM

    ROCKTOBERFEST Who wants to spend Halloween “just trick-or-treating” (and getting wet if it rai...


  • Herriman High Cheer Fundraiser

    10/28/2017
    06:30PM — 09:00PM

    Family Run Run 5K Cheer fundraiser. Race will start at Herriman High via 6000 West - Herriman Par...


  • Ascend Yoga Studio is Now Open!

    10/29/2017
    06:00AM

    Ascend is a brand new studio located on 726 E and 12200 S ste. F in Draper! We do heated as w...


  • theBRIDGE Church Grand Opening!

    10/29/2017
    10:00AM — 11:30AM

    Join us this Sunday at 10am @ the Daybreak Community Center in South Jordan, UT!


  • Ascend Yoga Studio is Now Open!

    10/30/2017
    06:00AM

    Ascend is a brand new studio located on 726 E and 12200 S ste. F in Draper! We do heated as w...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    10/30/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • Ascend Yoga Studio is Now Open!

    10/31/2017
    06:00AM

    Ascend is a brand new studio located on 726 E and 12200 S ste. F in Draper! We do heated as w...


  • Ascend Yoga Studio is Now Open!

    11/01/2017
    06:00AM

    Ascend is a brand new studio located on 726 E and 12200 S ste. F in Draper! We do heated as w...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    11/01/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • Ascend Yoga Studio is Now Open!

    11/02/2017
    06:00AM

    Ascend is a brand new studio located on 726 E and 12200 S ste. F in Draper! We do heated as w...


  • R.C.I.A.

    11/02/2017
    06:45PM — 09:00PM

    Has your child, grandchild, friend ever ask you why Catholic believe this or do that? Can you exp...


  • Instruction Classes

    11/02/2017
    07:45PM — 09:00PM

    Has your child, grandchild, friend ever ask you why Catholic believe this or do that? Can you exp...


  • Ascend Yoga Studio is Now Open!

    11/03/2017
    06:00AM

    Ascend is a brand new studio located on 726 E and 12200 S ste. F in Draper! We do heated as w...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    11/03/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • Ascend Yoga Studio is Now Open!

    11/04/2017
    06:00AM

    Ascend is a brand new studio located on 726 E and 12200 S ste. F in Draper! We do heated as w...


  • Free Anti-Bullying Class

    11/04/2017
    10:00AM — 11:00AM

    Gracie Barra Sandy hosts a free self defense class once a month on the first Saturday of every mo...


  • Local Authors & You - Booksigning

    11/04/2017
    01:00PM — 05:00PM

    Saturday, November 4 1-5 pm Are you an aspiring author hoping to be published? Do you enjoy m...


  • Ascend Yoga Studio is Now Open!

    11/05/2017
    06:00AM

    Ascend is a brand new studio located on 726 E and 12200 S ste. F in Draper! We do heated as w...


  • theBRIDGE Church Grand Opening!

    11/05/2017
    10:00AM — 11:30AM

    Join us this Sunday at 10am @ the Daybreak Community Center in South Jordan, UT!


  • Ascend Yoga Studio is Now Open!

    11/06/2017
    06:00AM

    Ascend is a brand new studio located on 726 E and 12200 S ste. F in Draper! We do heated as w...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    11/06/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


 

Online Edition
Follow My City Journals on Facebook
Advertise with us

 

City Journals 9500 South 500 West, Suite 205, Sandy, Utah 84070 801.254.5974