October 3, 2016
This morning, crossing guards throughout the Steel Valley School District completed training to enhance their already existing skills through Everyday Mentors and Simple Interactions. Everyday Mentors, an initiative of The Mentoring Partnership of Southwestern PA, empowers adults who regularly interact with young people to make an even bigger impact. Simple Interactions, a teaching tool of the Fred Rogers Center, uses authentic field videos to capture positive interactions between children and adults and discuss how to replicate them.
The training session brought the school district and three police departments together. Munhall Police Chief Patrick Campbell, West Homestead Police Chief Christopher Deasy and Homestead Police Chief Jeffrey DeSimone strongly supported the initiative. Steel Valley Superintendent Ed Wehrer thanked participants for their hard work and commitment to their communities at the training session located at the Franklin Administrative Building.
Crossing guards have a very important role at Steel Valley. They ensure our students get to and from school safely and on time, and they often serve as positive role models. We are excited to partner with our police departments and community organizations both to recognize the valuable work of our crossing guards and to expand their professional development opportunities. ~Superintendent Ed Wehrer
Crossing guards are much more than their name suggests. Yes, they help students get to and from school safely, but they also form close relationships along the way. We believe that by partnering with The Mentoring Partnership and the Fred Rogers Center, crossing guards can further enhance the great work they do for children. ~Allies for Children Executive Director Patrick Dowd
The idea to formally train crossing guards as Everyday Mentors arose from the collaboration of community organizations, including The Mentoring Partnership, and a recent study commissioned by Allies for Children. The study focused on three central questions: how are City of Pittsburgh crossing guards hired and deployed; what equipment and supervision does the City provide them; and what professional development, such as mentor training, should the City offer. The mentor training took place in the City of Pittsburgh and the Steel Valley School District. The Steel Valley School District compensated crossing guards for their participation and provided transportation to the training session. At a work session school board meeting in May, Board Member Jim Bulgar brought forth the opportunity for crossing guards to receive mentor training, which members later unanimously approved.
Crossing guards already mentor children by listening to their stories, tying their shoes and even lending lunch money. It is a natural fit to provide crossing guards with training through our Everyday Mentors initiative. Everyday Mentors are adults who find themselves supporting and caring for young people in a mentor-like role. This training will provide them with additional information and knowledge to better support their relationships with youth. ~The Mentoring Partnership of Southwestern PA Executive Director Colleen Fedor
Partners in the project include Allies for Children, A+ Schools, Steel Valley School District, The Mentoring Partnership of Southwestern PA, United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania’s Be There Campaign, the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media and The University of Pittsburgh’s Office of Child Development.
This week’s training aligned with the 20th Annual National Walk to School Day on October 5th, which aims to create healthier habits, safer streets and neighborhoods, a stronger sense of community and a cleaner environment.