Partnering and Mentoring Among Classes Enhance Learning

March 1, 2022 / Perspectives in Education/All News

In this blog post, sixth grade English teacher Mallory Gnemi discusses the educational and connectional benefits made possible by Jackson Academy’s one campus.

We have a lot of great educators on Jackson Academy’s campus; however, within our nurturing and spiritual community, some of our greatest teachers are the individuals sitting in a desk each day. That’s right–sometimes the students, ranging from K3 to graduating seniors, are the ones teaching each other some valuable lessons. 

Jackson Academy inspires and equips each student. Nearly each grade level at JA is partnered with a mentoring grade. For example, each year, kindergartners (the Alphas) are paired with a senior (the Omegas) for our Alpha and Omega program. First graders have Basketball Buddies, Football Buddies, and Book Buddies sprinkled throughout campus. Our ninth grade girls lead a sixth grade girls’ Bible study every other Thursday morning. 

This year, the Middle School has experimented with combining grade levels in our elective classes. Book Club, Creative Writing, and Photography, to name a few, have class rosters with sixth, seventh, and eighth graders on the roll. 

The greatest thing about all of these experiences is the learning that occurs, sometimes by accident, during these student collaborations. Seeing a sixth grader show their Book Buddy how to cup stack or watching the appreciation from a sixth grader after hearing an eighth grader share their original poetry teaches the educator a thing or two about teachable moments that aren’t always on the lesson plan. 

Having K3-12 grades all on one campus allows for these types of meaningful mentorships to continue to bring even more learning to the academic process. When we work to enmesh grade levels, it gives the older students motivation to be and continue to become wonderful examples to their younger counterparts, thereby helping to “train-up” each new generation of Raiders. The younger students learn what it takes to be an upperclassman who is and will continue to lead a life of purpose and significance.