The Peer Leadership Program at the Middle School is designed to engage seventh and eighth grade students in positions of responsibility that foster interpersonal and leadership skills. Students participate in service projects and serve as role models, mentors, and facilitators for their peers. This program has been thriving for many years due to the strong community ties built and maintained by past peer leaders.
See what the Peer Leaders are up to now!
Who are the Peer Leaders?
Most of the 8th grade class participates in the Peer Leadership Program. A limited number of 7th graders will also be accepted into the program. Peer Leaders will meet each week with their advisor to learn about leadership, responsibility and community service. There are 12 specialized groups within the Peer Leadership Program.
What is the History of the Program?
The Peer Leadership Program was started in early 1990's. In the beginning the program had only 20 members who worked on small community service projects and mentored our 6th graders several times a year. As the years passed, the program grew to incorporate more students and a greater outreach. Additional leadership opportunities arose and the groups we now know as PLOP, WISH, SOAR and so many more were created. The 7th grade program began as an early intervention program to provide additional training, direction and leadership to a “core” group of 7th grade leaders.
What to expect?
Peer Leaders are in training. They are students who are interested in helping and making a difference. Each week the topics of behavior, attitude, responsibility and dedication to service, both in and out of the classroom/school, are covered. Peer Leaders will make mistakes from time to time. They are still learning and growing. The program acknowledges this fact and provides students the opportunity to learn from their mistakes. A probation board meets with the peer leader having a problem to help understand the issue and redirect his/her actions. Sometimes the best learning comes after a mistake addressed.
What are the Peer Leaders Groups?
8th Graders may participate in one of the following groups:
BRAVE--Being Respectful And Valuing Everyone
BRAVE’s mission is to cultivate a school wide network of integrated grade councils to advance diversity and inclusion by transforming our school and communities into inclusive environments where individuals are valued for their talents and empowered to reach their fullest potential. BRAVE peer leaders will learn facilitation skills and turnkey them to the students who come out to participate in the IC- Inclusion Councils run 4 times a year. Students interested should have strong teamwork skills, a desire to see our school and community as an inclusive group, and have strong feelings for social justice and acceptance. BRAVE peer leaders will use social media, group meetings and presentations to get their message of hope, value and respect to our community.This peer leader group will learn to facilitate group discussion then recruit 6th and 7th graders to participate in an Inclusion Council 4 times a year. They will focus on Ability, Cultural Diversity, Gender, Human Rights and Social Justice, Overcoming Discrimination/Prejudice/Stereotypes, and Race/Ethnicity issues within our school.
DECO--Designs Educating Children & Others
For DECO, the phrase "reuse, reduce, and recycle" means more than just being environmentally conscious. These artistic peer leaders will specialize in making treasures by seeing new meaning for any item that has been discarded. They enjoy using their hands and creating interesting new artistic uses for everyday objects. This group will take recycling to a new level in an effort to help the environment. We virtually collected recycling this year and participated in design contests through PepsiCo Recycling online. We participated alongside SOAR in a Memory Project where we exchanged artwork with Pakistan. We had a visitor from the Essex County Environmental Center do a presentation on Recycling and paper-making. Using this knowledge, DECO will help the community as well as items for sale as a fundraiser. They will participate in a number of community-focused events, and they will add a new artistic element to the Empty Bowls event by designing trays with a personal touch. DECO will also help with set design for the school Musical.
MASH--Machine and Software Helpers
"MASHers" are the school’s backbone for technology help. They fix computers, set up projectors, televisions, 3-D printers and other devices. They also teach tech workshops on different programs: Google Apps, Smartboards, laptops, chromebooks, online software and new programs. This hardworking group focuses its efforts on assisting the technology teachers in a variety of areas. Students provide technical support for all peer leader events for the school, photograph the school events, work on the peer leader website and help teach classes using new technologies. MASH’ers run the morning announcements, students should possess strong computer skills and a deep commitment to community service.
PALS--Peers Always Lending Service work directly with the 6th graders throughout the year. PALS will attend 6th grade homerooms each week throughout the year. All PALS will lead discussions and activities geared toward awareness and understanding of social relationships and pressures. PALS will also prepare and organize events at the Elementary Schools throughout the school year. These programs deal primarily with bullying, middle school orientation, class work and collaborative themes. Participation involves time before and during homeroom as well as some class time. Students should possess strong interpersonal skills, creativity and a genuine interest in helping others.
PEN--Peers Enriching News produce, The Millburn Penpoint (www.millburnpenpoint.com), MMS's online student newspaper, and manage the Peer Leader program’s Instagram account (www.instagram.com/mmspeerleaders). PEN peer leaders have a nose for the news, searching for unheralded stories of locals making a difference, or issues that are underreported. PEN peer leaders should posses important media skills, like crisp writing, photography, videography and editing, and should also be willing to learn more about the roles of social media, publicizing, gathering data and mapping stories. There are readers out there eager to read and watch what you serve up; PEN peer leaders have the scoop!
PLOP--The Peer Leader Outreach Program’s responsibilities include community service, addressing the interests and concerns of worldwide issues that affect the wellbeing of people internationally, domestically, and within the MMS community, and raising funds for various charities. Some PLOP endeavors include the longstanding MMS Thanksgiving Food Drive to benefit a local foodbank and the Thanksgiving Assemblies. PLOP organizes the Trick or Treat UNICEF Campaign, the Halloween Candy-grams to benefit HEIFER, the December Operation Smile Campaign, and the February Candy Sale to benefit HEIFER. PLOP also participates in the Millburn SnowFlake Parade. Students should possess strong organizational and public speaking skills as well as a willingness to fundraise!
SOAR--Students Of Art Respond focus on promoting peace and tolerance through a variety of artistic media. SOAR reinforces a deeper understanding of how the arts can bring creative and positive solutions to our lives. Students will work on cooperative projects with other peer leader groups and school functions. They assist in the construction of the sets for the Spring Musical, and host the Empty Bowls Fundraiser. The activities promote the abilities of its members to recognize the power and merits of their work and the work of others. Students should possess strong artistic talent and a commitment to service.
SPORT--Students Promoting Off Road Training will focus on using physical and mental exercise to encourage a healthy middle school life. Examples of activities might include: promoting a school wide healthy living pledge, hosting athletic events and running in a 5K for charity. SPORT will also promote health, safety and exercise within the community - with Special Olympics, police and fire, as well as other groups. SPORT peer leaders might also be trained in CPR and assist with local recreational coaching and officiating. Potential "Sportsters" should possess excellent leadership skills and a genuine desire to get out and “DO SOMETHING!”
STEAM--Student Techs Educate And Mentor focus on enriching the Millburn Middle School using Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. STEAM peer leaders will work together with their mentor to design, plan, and implement challenge based learning experiences for their peers to engage in. STEAM peer leaders should have a passion for STEAM education, engineering / design challenges, and have a desire to work with their hands to create awesome projects. Most importantly, STEAM peer leaders must be outgoing, willing to try new things, and have the desire to to share their passion for STEAM education with others.
WISH--What If Students Helped? Foundation members focus on seeing how their efforts can positively affect our school community. Each year one of their goals is to raise a minimum of $3000 to grant a child’s WISH through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The Make-A-WISH foundation grants wishes to children who have been diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses and the WISH peer leaders are students who want to make a difference in these children’s lives. The WISH group assists in organizing the Student/Faculty Volleyball Game and spearheads granting a wish to a deserving child. WISH peer leaders volunteer their time to plan, organize, and run activities designed to raise awareness and funds for people right here in Millburn and surrounding towns as well. Students are encouraged to bring their ideas and passions for caring and community service. Fundraising and organizing skills are a must for students applying to this group.
Selected 7th Graders may participate in Peer Leaders. CORE 7 is a group that is formed in 7th Grade by invitation only.