skip to content

Institute for Learning Partnership

Chancellor Harden shows appreciation to Phuture Phoenix supporters


Uw-Green Bay Chancellor Thomas Harden gives gratitude to Phuture Phoenix supporters on Monday, November 15th. Select the link to read the entire article.

Buddy Program helps raise Two Rivers’ student math, reading scores

TWO RIVERS – When L.B. Clarke Middle School Counselor Brian Schley created the Buddy Program at Clarke Middle School his motivation was “purposeful research” for a professional degree.
He’s got the certification – known as a Professional Development Certificate (PDC) – and the results have proven so successful helping students raise their math and reading scores that he wouldn’t dream of ending the buddy plan.

“When you find something that works, that helps students, it’s pretty hard not to continue,” Schley said in late

August as he prepared for the upcoming semester.

In a nutshell the buddy program works like this: teachers identify 5th graders who could benefit from some mentor tutoring by 7th graders. Held before school twice a week, it’s voluntary on the part of all students and enjoys parental permission.

The research project was a component of the PDC program, which is an individualized, self-paced program of professional development that is offered by the Institute for Learning Partnership at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and recognized by the Department of Public Instruction for re-licensure.

 Two Rivers, like many school districts, offers a financial incentive to educators who complete the PDC program. A major component of the PDC is an action research project that is developed by the educator and peer reviewed by a panel of master educators.

Schley, who received his bachelor’s degree from St. Norbert College and master’s degree in counseling from UW-Oshkosh, has been at Clarke Middle School for four years. His wife Tiffani is a counselor in the Manitowoc schools, who is in the process of earning her PDC certification.

“The first time I went before a PDC Quality Review Board I felt like a steak on the burner. But from that experience I learned so much,” he said. “The PDC really begs the questions: What are you doing and is it effective?”

As his Buddy Program project advanced, Schley worked with teachers to review test scores to find out whether students were benefiting from student mentoring. As the data rolled in, the answer was an unequivocal ‘yes.’

The concept is that the 7th and 8th graders work with their younger schoolmates to build basic skills. It requires training mentors on how they can help build those skills. It also requires some skilled paring of students and role models.

Fifth and sixth grade students who participated in the Buddy Program showed improvement in math and reading scores. And when asked to complete a self-assessment survey, students who were in the Buddy Program reported an improvement in behavior, attitude and self-esteem.

There are other encouraging outcomes from the Buddy Program – fifth and sixth graders benefit from building a positive relationship with older students. It’s had to understate the importance of self-esteem, especially in the middle school years.

“As counselors we focus on three domains – careers, personal-social skills, and academic development,” Schley explained. “I think we do the first two well, but academic development is one area that I think we could stand to do some work on. I think the Buddy Program with its focus on building skills is doing some of that.”

First Phuture Phoenix class graduates to the present