The Student Assistance Team is a group of teachers, counselors and nurses at Pearce who meet periodically to help students who are struggling with issues that may hinder their academic performance. Unlike the Peer Mediators or Peer Helpers, the Student Assistance Team is run completely by a few adult staff members.
“The goal of the Student Assistance Team is to help any student who is slipping through the cracks,” English teacher Miranda Gilliam said. “It lets the student know that the staff at Pearce does care about what’s going on in their life that may be affecting them in school.”
Ms. Gilliam is one of the nine members of the SAT. Other staff members include teachers Don Longo, Nona Sanders, Daniel Bess and Melissa Livings, nurses Emily Maddock and Kathy Powell, and counselors Lea Drewery and Willa Myers.
“All referrals to the Student Assistance Team come from students or teachers and are completely anonymous,” Mr. Longo said. “With every referral we get together and discuss the best way to help the student get through their tough time and get them back on track.”
The SAT has a meeting nearly every two weeks to discuss each referral individually. Referrals can come to the school through contact with a counselor or SAT member, email or on a referral form from any teacher.
Once the team gets a referral, they ill find the students opportunities to talk to counselors, find them mentors in or out of school, or simply notify the student’s teachers to let them know to be sensitive to the student’s situation.
“We don’t inform the student’s parents unless it’s completely necessary,” Mr. Longo said. “Almost all issues can be handled on school grounds, within school hours. We mostly target the middle-level student who just needs some guidance.”
The SAT empowers students to grow in the face of challenges and match student needs and strengths with support resources throughout the school. In year’s past the Student Assistance Team has helped one or two students on average, but so far just this year they have been able to help more than eight students. All Pearce teachers have referral forms as well as informational brochures about the SAT.