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Teen Mentor Dedication Helps At-risk Students

Teen Trendsetters is a program aimed at getting more high school students involved in mentoring while at the same time helping under-performing elementary school readers. Christopher Wootson, a Stanton High School student, is a Teen Trendsetter and a former student of Oak Hill Elementary School in Jacksonville. Chris chose to give back to his former elementary school by recruiting seven of his schoolmates and instructing them on how to become a reading mentor. In November 2003, the eight high school students he recruited took on the challenge of becoming reading mentors to third grade students at Oak Hill Elementary.

Han Le, Nan Shin, Cathy Needham, Caitlin Weather, Theresa Turner, Allison Dominguez, Amorette Hanna and Christopher Wootson worked one-on-one with eight Oak Hill Elementary third graders for one hour every Monday to reinforce their reading skills.

The third graders were identified because of their low Lexile scores (Lexile framework is a tool for looking at a reader's achievement in relation to the difficulty of specific texts.) and low reading grades on the first nine-week report card. Each of the students identified were in danger of scoring a Level 1 on FCAT Reading and being automatically retained in third grade.

Dedication to the program was required of all involved, mentors, students and parents. Of the eight Oak Hill students who were identified and committed to the program, seven of them scored a Level 2 or higher on the FCAT Reading.

Oak Hill Elementary is looking forward to working with the Teen Trendsetters in the future because they have made a positive impact with at-risk third grade students.