Holleman Elementary’s (HES) Buddy Program is a special way for adult mentors to provide additional support and learning opportunities for students.
“Building relationships is essential to developing our students,” program leader and 2nd-grade teacher Nicole Mattingly said. “While we do spend parts of the day with them (the students) focusing on academics, it is a wonderful opportunity to have time outside of the classroom to connect with students in a different setting.”
This year’s “buddies” are HES staff members who have volunteered to give extra time to support the 20 students who participate in the program. When students sign up, they are matched with a buddy who will be with them the entire school year. They meet once a month for an official Buddy Breakfast and are encouraged to check in with each other throughout the month. During breakfasts, there are different activities planned, such as scavenger hunts and crafts, to start conversations and help students feel comfortable.
“The hope is that students will connect with an adult in a positive way,” Mattingly said. “We aim to create a strong support system for students to help them build their social and emotional development.”
The program is part of the campus’ restorative discipline program that gives the opportunity for adults to work and connect with students. It is now in its third year and has helped countless HES students thanks to Mattingly’s hard work to coordinate the program and adult volunteers.