Individual Presentation

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McClarin Success Academy

Second Presenter's Institution


Third Presenter's Institution


Fourth Presenter's Institution


Fifth Presenter's Institution




Strand #1

Social & Emotional Skills

Strand #2

Academic Achievement & School Leadership


Various research shows a direct correlation of peer to peer mentoring with positive social and emotional development. For peer mentors, there have been reported improvements in connectedness to school, self-esteem/self-efficacy, empathy, intrapersonal communication and conflict resolution skills, leadership skills, and parental relationships. And, for peer mentees, these programs have shown a positive impact on connectedness to school and peers, feelings of competency and self-efficacy, grades and academic achievement, personal successes, coping skills, freshman orientation, and prosocial behavior and attitudes. This directly relates to the topics listed under strand II “Heart”: Social & Emotional Skills; School climate; Cultural diversity; Creating a sense of community in classrooms & schools; Caring curriculum; Achievement motivation; Academic resilience; Student empowerment; Student leadership skills; Character education; Self-Esteem; Positive identity development, Cooperative learning; Multicultural education; Life skills; Emotional intelligence; Communication skills; Decision making; Goal setting skills. This has been highly evident in survey findings resulting from program implementation at several schools across the Fulton County School district.

Brief Program Description

Are you looking for a unique program designed to enhance your school’s learning environment and academic success? Come hear this dynamic and refreshing presentation to learn how to equip your students with the tools they need to make a positive change serving as Success Ambassadors. This session will offer you a wealth of invaluable information, creative resources and practical strategies.


Success Ambassadors (peer mentors) consists of promising students (ie. natural leaders, self-motivated, and benevolent) selected by designated faculty/staff and then trained to serve underclassmen in their schools (as well as surrounding community organizations such as neighboring middle and elementary schools). Training consists of a two-week session on the program’s mission and required skill-set. Success Ambassadors go into the classrooms and conduct purposeful team building activities, guidance lessons, mentoring services, tutoring, and restorative circles. Ideas and strategies are culminated from Student and Teacher Needs Assessments. This takes place weekly for at least 14 weeks in duration (length based on the need and structure of the school). Ways for various program implementation methods will be provided to tailor to different school climates. Students receive weekly guidance and direction from the program coordinator every Monday of the week preceding the program’s activities. This session offers lessons, strategies, activities, and overall approach in a variety of ways to meet various institutional structures (school daily schedule and strategic audience outreach methods).

Program Purpose for Success Ambassadors:

• To develop leadership in oneself and in others

• To give peers confidence and help them make effective decisions

• To serve as an advocate who will help underclassmen and other students in neighboring schools develop academically, behaviorally, and socially

This program benefits students in the ways listed above in the program’s purpose. It is conducive to helping students develop leadership skills in themselves and in others, promotes effective decision making skills, self-advocacy skills, academic advancement, and helps students effectively approach negative social situations that may occur.


Excerpt taken from: Building Effective Peer Mentoring Programs in Schools: An Introductory Guide by Michael Garringer & Patti MacRae


Cross-age peer mentoring programs are an increasingly popular choice for educators and youth development professionals hoping to create positive outcomes for youth. These programs, in which older youth befriend and mentor younger children in a structured environment, are growing in popularity for a number of reasons:

- They can produce a number of positive outcomes for both sets of participants

- Cross-age peer programs provide growth and learning opportunities for both mentors and mentees, resulting in a “double impact” that is appealing to schools and districts attempting to support students with limited financial and community resources.

- Fewer resources are needed for recruiting mentors. Peer mentors are recruited from student populations within participating schools, which cuts down on the amount of marketing and outreach usually needed to recruit adult mentors. Since most cross-age peer mentoring programs are based at the school site, fewer financial resources may be needed for recruitment staff or facilities. These programs tend to take advantage of existing resources and school infrastructure.

- They capitalize on the importance of peer relationships for adolescents. Cross-age peer programs take advantage of adolescents’ increasing interest in peer friendships as they enter the teenage years. Mentees’ natural tendency to look up to slightly older youth means that they view their mentor as a role model and someone worth listening to. Peer mentors also benefit from interacting with each other in positive ways through the volunteer experience, often building new relationships beyond their normal circle of friends.

- They can help with transition points in participants’ lives. Mentees in elementary or middle school benefit from having an older student help them through the challenges of moving to a new school and the accompanying changes in social relationships that brings. High school mentors build personal skills and confidence that can help prepare them for their lives after high school. Their involvement in the program can also be a meaningful addition to applications for colleges and future jobs.

- They can be more appealing to parents of mentees, who may feel uncomfortable with an unknown adult becoming involved with their child. Having their child Mentoring Resource Center participate in a school-sanctioned peer mentoring program that often takes place during the day and is supervised by school staff, may feel safer. This increase in popularity has led to rapid expansion of peer programs around the country. It is now estimated that over 25 percent of all Big Brothers Big Sisters matches are cross-age peer relationships, and over 40 percent of BBBS school-based matches are with high school–aged volunteers (Karcher, 2007). Other school-based programs, such as U.S.

Department of Education school-based mentoring grantees, are also turning increasingly to the cross-age peer model. Peer mentoring is clearly a strategy whose time has come. The promise of the cross-age peer mentoring model is best supported by sound program practice and an understanding of how peer mentoring differs from the traditional adult youth mentoring model more familiar to schools and youth development programs. This guidebook is intended to provide an introduction to best practices associated with cross-age peer mentoring programs. It draws on research and observed program practices that can lead to successful outcomes, mostly for programs that take place at a school site — although much of the advice could be adapted by community centers or afterschool programs.

Biographical Sketch

Igniting her career with Fulton County Schools in 2006, Ebony Payno, M.A., has served as a high school counselor at various high schools in North and South Fulton County where she has successfully implemented effective peer mentoring programs. She is also an active member of the American School Counselors Association and the National Association of College Admissions Counseling. Ebony has served as the Peer Helper Committee Chair for the Georgia School Counselors Association as well as presented at the GSCA Conference. She has also served on the High School Advisory Council for the University of Georgia and is currently serving on the Advisory Board for Oglethorpe University. Ebony's educational background and extensive experience allows her to effectively meet student's academic, social and personal needs as well as provide up-to-date information in an ever-changing educational arena.

Keyword Descriptors

education, peer mentoring, counseling, peer leadership, academic, guidance, curriculum

Presentation Year


Start Date

3-6-2017 1:15 PM

End Date

3-6-2017 2:30 PM


Mar 6th, 1:15 PM Mar 6th, 2:30 PM

Strategies and Solutions for Implementing a Distinguished Success Ambassador Program to Promote Student Achievement


Are you looking for a unique program designed to enhance your school’s learning environment and academic success? Come hear this dynamic and refreshing presentation to learn how to equip your students with the tools they need to make a positive change serving as Success Ambassadors. This session will offer you a wealth of invaluable information, creative resources and practical strategies.