Radloff, Lilburn middle schools honored for mentoring programs

LAWRENCEVILLE - Two Gwinnett County middle schools have been honored for their use of a mentoring program that pairs students with community members for one-on-one instructional time.

HOSTS - Helping One Student To Succeed - Learning, a provider of learning solutions designed to help school systems close the achievement gap, presented Lilburn Middle and Louise Radloff Middle with the HOSTS Mentoring and Intervention Best Practices Exemplary Award, according to Gwinnett County Public Schools. This is the second year in a row the schools have received this recognition.

Patty Heitmuller, the principal of Radloff Middle, said the mentors play a critical role as students often struggle because of a lack of confidence - not an inability to learn.

"Our mentors have helped our students build confidence and competence to achieve academically," Heitmuller said. "Our mentors help our students see beyond their middle school years. This way, they better understand how achieving in middle school will allow them to realize their goals."

To be considered for the honor, schools submitted a comprehensive, three-part application complete with letters of recommendation from teachers, parents, students and mentors, along with examples of individual learning plans.

The schools also were asked to summarize the achievement results of students in the program, including results from state, standardized and other student assessments.

Louise Radloff, the school board member who represents both schools, said the impact of the mentoring program is positive. The students interact well with the mentors, who are giving back to the community, she said.

"It makes a difference in the life of a kid. It really makes a difference in the life of a kid," she said. "I think it would be good to expand it (the program) anywhere where there's a kid who has a need."