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News, Opinion, & Multimedia for Tamalpais High School

The Tam News

News, Opinion, & Multimedia for Tamalpais High School

The Tam News

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The benefits of WISE

Graphic by Ana Murguia

Tamalpais High School offers hundreds of diverse courses and peer mentoring, also known as Working to Inspire Student Empowerment (WISE). WISE is one of, if not the best, class for Tam students to take. The program focuses on students’ mental health and how to support one another through a mentorship program. 

Students in the class learn to be mentors to underclassmen who are selected by teachers and staff who see great potential and academic excellence in these freshman and sophomores. The mentors and their mentees are required to meet once a week, working together to help the mentee reach their needs and solve any tasks that may be in their way. The program takes field trips and has bonding events throughout the year. The mentors in WISE also have elementary school mentees whom they mentor once a week at different schools. The course content focuses on the essential skills and sciences behind human interactions and problem-solving. 

With our world still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to bring attention and prioritize teens’ mental health. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported, “Data from the 2021 Adolescent Behaviors and Experiences Survey (ABES) indicate that 37.1% of U.S. high school students reported poor mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

 WISE mentoring helps teach students about mental health and serves as an outlet for students who are looking for support in a variety of ways. This class also gives students confidence in helping others and is an introduction to the large field of sociology. 

Abbey Levine has been teaching WISE for nine years and has an in-depth background on mentoring and leadership. Levine’s close friend mastered in the studies of mentoring during college and has partnered with Levine to shape this amazing program. In addition to this, Levine has taught a lot of student leadership courses for many years so she understands how and what motivates student leaders to be successful.

“My job is to prepare students to be mentors, and there is a lot that goes into that. I first try to get my mentors to recognize who they are and how they show up,” Levine said. 

WISE is extremely beneficial to our community because it’s different from any other class material you would learn at Tam. Instead of repeatedly adding numbers on a paper that you won’t remember the next day or staring at your computer screen for hours at a time, WISE gives students skills that can last a lifetime. It’s a class that focuses on the science and importance of yourself and others mental health. 

“We, as mentors, can contribute to the school community by working one-on-one with our peers and learning real-life skills,” junior and WISE mentor Georgia Madland said. 

For a student to be successful, they must feel comfortable and supported at school, which is exactly what this class does. Unlike most classes, almost all of the activities and work are based on collaboration in WISE so there is a very close-knit community in that classroom environment.

 “With a shared commitment to support others, the WISE community is extremely collaborative and committed to working together to help our mentees at Tam,” Tam senior and WISE mentor Ellie Kelsey said.

 Every day, students work with their peers to solve real-life problems and guide each other on the right paths toward success. WISE is a different type of education than other student leadership courses because of the upstanding actions students take to  better their community daily in WISE. 

“This class is unique because you’re not only learning content, but you are doing it through a self-reflective lens and then you have to teach it to someone else,” Levine said. 

The collaborative, extroverted skills Levine teaches are life-long skills students can use to lift others and improve the Tam community altogether.

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