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Peer Power

We know the profound impact teachers have on our students, but what about the impact students have on each other? One Collierville teacher used her CEF-given grant to demonstrate the power of peers, and encourage students to help one another learn.

Schilling Farms Elementary School teacher, Erin Reagan, was given a grant in 2019 to launch her second round of peer tutoring. The program, called “Peer Power,” connects fourth and fifth grade students with kindergarteners for tutoring.

Ms. Reagan was first inspired to create Peer Power because of mounting national evidence touting the positive impact of peer tutoring. In fact, a research review conducted by the National Education Association found that peer tutoring programs increased student motivation, aided in their social and emotional development and improved peer relationships. Additionally, according to Evidence for Learning, peer tutoring can have the equivalent effect of as much as five additional months of progress.

The decision to request a grant for another year of Peer Power was based not only on the benefits to students that she saw in the program’s first year, but also on their feedback. She cited the many trips down the hall in which a tutor or tutee stopped her asking when the peer tutoring would start back again.

Ms. Reagan noted the changes she saw in the fourth and fifth grade students as they began tutoring. They developed skills like empathy, helpfulness, responsibility and citizenship. She also saw the tutors build their own confidence, reinforcing their own progress as they helped a kindergartener understand a concept more fully.

The program’s selected tutors and tutees were also given an opportunity to feel a sense of belonging. In fact, the students would sometimes form friendships outside of their tutor sessions, leading to years of a potential mentorship.

Ms. Reagan’s hope for the program is that she and her students can be a part of building a school culture that promotes service to others. We’re grateful for Ms. Reagan and the students in the Peer Power program for their service to fellow students and Collierville Schools.


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