Cloud Elementary School

Written by Student Support Advocate

Student 1

Let me tell you about a set of PandoKid twin sisters who are in 4th grade this year. They have been struggling with attendance and a lack of effort in the classroom. Nothing too extreme, but struggling nonetheless. Last fall, their father was killed in a gang/drug-related shooting.  His body was found in an alley. Their grandma started taking care of them. She did her best to make sure they were in school almost every day and really helped provide a consistent and predictable environment for the girls.

One day, the music teacher at Cloud told me that there was a couple that wanted to mentor two students. I knew right away who they needed to work with. They started meeting once a week with the girls. They would play games with them and help them to set goals. They also listened to them and encouraged them along the way. They would occasionally bring them lunch when they reached their goals.  They even arranged a lunch with them at a local Italian Restaurant.

The twins are now doing much better in school. They participate more in class and have improved in the areas of responsibility and attendance. I believe that it is because of the love and positivity of their mentors that the girls have made great strides. I am excited to know that they will continue with the mentoring program, and I look forward to seeing their growth in the coming year.


Student 2

When this PandoKid first started the Read to Succeed program, he hated it. He would find any way to distract himself so he didn’t have to read each Wednesday afternoon. He would purposefully mispronounce words and read slowly just to push his mentor’s buttons. 

Over time, this hatred turned into excitement — excitement for reading and excitement knowing he would get to see his mentor that day. Every Wednesday, he walks out of the classroom, stuffed wolf in hand, and greets his mentor with a big smile. As they walk down the hallway to get to their spot, he tells her about his day. He tells her about the success he had that day by not getting in trouble a single time. He also tells her when the day is just not going his way.

The mentor/mentee relationship goes beyond just reading. His mentor is a consistent friend who he trusts and looks forwards to seeing her each week. This strong relationship contributes immensely to his success in the Read to Succeed program. She is able to encourage him and push him to be his best, and he does just that.

It has been so great to see his progress. He went from struggling with nearly every other word to being able to finish entire sentences without a single mistake. Even more than the literacy improvement, it has been especially exciting to see his attitude improve. When the mentor told him their last meeting would be next week he said, “I think we will still need each other in fourth grade.”

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