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Briggs High School Students Mentor Lindbergh Elementary School Students through Reading Buddies Program

students reading together

February 27, 2024 – Once a week, 10th-grade students Devan Sang and Jade Peronne leave Briggs High School and travel across the street to Lindbergh Elementary School. The two are part of the Reading Buddies program that connects high school and elementary students. As reading buddies, they mentor students who may one day be Briggs students themselves. 

“Through the program, we high school students go to a local elementary school and help students with social-emotional learning and reading,” Sang explained. “I like how I get to be a part of these kids’ lives.”

The program is through a collaboration with Seven Baskets, a Lindbergh community partner. Every Monday during school, Seven Baskets transports Briggs students to Lindbergh. At the school, Sang, Perrone, and the other Briggs students are assigned to one third-grade student and one fifth-grade student. They continue to work with the same students throughout the year. Having the same buddy each week allows the students to connect with each other and builds trust between them.

Both Sang and Perrone strive to build a relationship with their buddies that goes beyond curriculum. 

“My third grade buddy, Ryan, is a cool guy,” Sang said. “We clicked instantly. He likes video games and reminds me of me when I was his age. We always talk about how his weekend was; it’s a great time.”

As a third grader, Ryan practices his reading with Sang. The two of them work on improving Ryan’s reading proficiency and comprehension. With the fifth-grade students, the focus is on social-emotional learning. The high school students discuss conflict resolution skills and help their fifth-grade buddies understand good lifestyle habits to build. 

Sang said working with the students helped him develop some good habits, too. 

“I like working with kids; it helps with developing patience,” he said. “You learn to be patient with the kids, and, eventually, you get a positive outcome.”

For Perrone, the most impactful part of the program is the opportunity to serve as a role model for elementary students. Perrone has not always been a Columbus City Schools student. She grew up in Haiti before moving to Columbus as a middle schooler. 

Some CCS students are from other parts of the world or do not have English as their first language, and Perrone thinks her experiences make her a good person for these students to look up to. 

“From the way I was raised, I am a good example for these kids,” Perrone said. “English wasn’t my first language; it was my third. I relate to the students. I can see their point of view.”

Briggs is the high school that Lindbergh students will typically attend, and the pairing of these two schools was made with that in mind. Lindbergh principal Annette Tooman said having Briggs students like Sang and Perrone come to the school weekly shows students what their futures can look like. 

“We have had several high school students in the program who attended Lindbergh when they were in elementary school and are coming back to pay it forward,” Tooman said. “This is a powerful thing for our students to see; this could be a look into their futures.”

The Lindbergh and Briggs collaboration is just one of the Reading Buddies programs in the District, and it’s something that CCS Director of Literacy Jennifer Ey would love to see grow. She said it benefits both the high school and elementary students and helps bridge the gap between early and secondary learners.

“The advantage of the program is that our older students get a chance to mentor students at younger ages,” Ey said. “For our younger kids, not only do they have kids to look up to, but they see the importance of reading and what it means in older grades. This is a program I would love to see continue to expand to other schools across the District.”

Power of One

Priority 1 - Whole Child FocusedPriority 2 - Equitable Opportunities for AllPriority 3 - Strong Learning Communities in Every RegionPriority 4 - Authentic EngagementPortrait Attribute 1 - AdaptabilityPortrait Attribute 2 - CommunicationPortrait Attribute 3 - CreativityPortrait Attribute 4 - Critical ThinkingPortrait Attribute 5 - Global EmpathyPortrait Attribute 6 - Technology