Buddy Bench arrives at JWPMS

Posted on December 22, 2015, in Lancer Life

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James W. Parker Middle School new students Brianna Farley and Alexis Bartosek stand behind the newly installed Buddy Bench.

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James W. Parker Middle School is the latest General McLane school to join the trend of preventing loneliness during recess.

Thanks to a $500 grant received from the Pennsylvania School Counselors Association (PSCA), the school was able to add a Buddy Bench to its playground.

According to Middle School Counselor Mike Simmons, who spearheaded the project, the Buddy Bench adds to the variety of academic and social interventions that are already in place that help students overcome barriers and reach their potential. It will also help students during the transition to middle school.

“One of the most significant aspects of change is social. Students at this level often experience difficulties negotiating student interactions, making new friends, peer mediations, etc. The Buddy Bench would be beneficial as a tool for those who are looking to make friends and for those who are looking to help others,“ Simmons said.

The project cost around six hundred dollars. In addition to the grant, the middle school staff raised money from a jeans day and an anonymous donor. Simmons will be adding a sign to the bench in the near future that highlights its purpose.

The bench will be a familiar setting for some of the middle school students. Edinboro Elementary School installed a Buddy Bench created by Edinboro Elementary faculty and students in 2014. The school has an additional Buddy Bench that will be installed near the playground. Edinboro Elementary’s Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) purchased the bench, and third and fourth graders in Mrs. Robertson’s classes painted it last year.