Not many upper school students return to the middle school building after they leave for Wilson Hall. Still, the newly formed Academic Mentorship Program plans to build a metaphorical bridge between the two learning environments.
The Academic Mentorship Program is one of the many ways for upper school students to connect with their middle school peers. Sixth Formers Owen Yu, Joey Kauffman, and Arnav Sardesai hope to create a program that will connect the two divisions for years to come.
The Academic Mentorship Program hopes to help struggling middle school students by using peer-to-peer tutoring from more experienced upper schoolers. Tutors applied at the end of the 2021-2022 school year and will now be assigned to different middle school advisories to begin to guide and teach younger students.
The program is planned to be mostly led by Sixth Formers.
“This was all Owen, Arnav, and Joey’s idea. This is their vision,” Faculty Advisor Mr. Matt Ator said. “I am just acting as a guardrail and making sure they can accomplish their goals. I hope that in addition to this being a tutoring and academic program, there will also be a level of mentorship, passing on study skills, and creating a relationship between middle schoolers and upper schoolers.”
Sardesai credits Kauffman with the inspiration for the program.
“It was mostly Joey’s idea. He really liked [tutoring a middle schooler in Spanish], and Owen and I were on board and we wanted to build off that,” Sardesai said. He hopes to create something that will flourish. “I think a lot of interaction between the two divisions got torn away during COVID, and I think this is a good way to give the middle schoolers someone to talk to and go to for advice.”
Head of the Middle School Dr. Jay Greytok hopes that middle school students will improve more than just their academic performance.
“I think for many middle school boys, there is a mystery about what it is to be an upper school boy,” Dr. Greytok said. “The program will provide opportunities for upper school guys and middle school guys to connect and get to know each other on a relational level.”
Dr. Greytok also hopes that middle school students will bond with older students.
“[Hopefully, they create] a commitment to their academics that they see from the upper school guys and […] the opportunity in the future to potentially give back [to the middle school] like the upper school students are modeling.”