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Students Helping Students Program Creates Lasting Connections Between Lower and Upper School Students

Students Helping Students is a Country Day signature program that provides weekly curricular support for younger students who may want help with certain school subjects by pairing them with Upper School "study buddies" for the year. Through cross-divisional collaboration, Students Helping Students has bolstered participating students' academic skills and confidence.  

Students helping Students

Led by Upper School teachers Paula Butler and Malena Castro and student leaders Drew Bagnoli '22, Christopher Langenbahn '22, and Sarah Zimmerman '22, 31 Upper School students participated in the program during the 2021-22 school year. Over the course of the year, these students spent 261 hours with their Lower School study buddies.  

“My second graders LOVED their study buddies this year,” said second grade teacher Prissy Schoeny. “We are so grateful for their support and the relationships they have developed with our students. If I could, I would have my whole class paired with study buddies.” 

But it's not just tutoring that takes place during these weekly meetings. Some study buddies form a special connection based on interests outside the classroom, too, like Gracie Barnes '23 and Alexis Wall '30.  

Alexis and Gracie were paired together due to their mutual interests in sports. Gracie plays varsity basketball for Country Day, and Alexis plays on multiple youth sports teams. Gracie coached Alexis to help her memorize multiplication facts. As a result, Alexis mastered her math facts and she and Gracie became fast friends. Gracie did not just help teach Alexis math but also some on-the-court skills too. Throughout the year, Gracie encouraged Alexis to do her best in the classroom and on the court and even spent time not just practicing math but shooting hoops too. 

"Gracie's work with Alexis has been transformational," said Alexis's fourth grade teacher, Jared McFee. "Learning multiplication facts is a fourth grade milestone for any student. But, learning multiplication facts with an older student you look up to is part of what makes Country Day an extraordinary place."