Isom Junior Supervisors Teaching

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Isom Junior Supervisors Teaching 5th Graders Leadership, Exciting Kindergartners
Posted on 03/10/2022

When the kindergarten students line up for recess at Isom Elementary, they crane their necks to get a view outside. They aren't always looking for the next open swing or the nearest equipment, they want to catch a glimpse of fifth-grade students serving as junior supervisors. 


"When teachers bring them over and they see the fifth-graders standing there, you should see the smiles on their faces, both the kindergartners and fifth-graders," says Isom noon supervisor June Macy. "Even if they see each other at a different recess, they give high-fives and waves. I am very proud of all these kids." 


The Junior Supervisor Program started about 15 years ago, led by counselor Elizabeth Grant. Macy leads the program now, having fifth-grade students serve as role models and mentors to help kindergarten students learn the rules of safety and play outside. 


"It is a real help," she says. "Everybody is so excited, at both levels. At the beginning of the year, they are helpful when you have a whole grade of kindergartners trying to learn schoolwork and then they come outside and have a bunch of stuff to learn. They help me, so I benefit too." 


Whether teaching the rules of a game, showing them around the space or just being a part of their lives, not only do the fifth-grade students take on a leadership role in the lives of the kindergartners, but the young students now have someone to look up to and call a friend. It is a responsibility for the older students, some selected by noon supervisor staff and others by teachers, all under the direction of noon supervisor staff. 


Tim Doering, Isom principal, says he's proud of the program and how it helps the younger students feel included, cared for and connected to the school and helps the older students develop leadership skills and build character. 


"I watch our fifth-graders sit and color with the younger student, push them on the swings, jump rope with them and even just sit and chat with them," he says. "Our kindergartners and first-graders look up to them and it is really a positive experience for both of those groups of students." 


With four fifth-grade classrooms at Isom, each class takes on day of kindergarten recess a week—late-arrival Wednesday is without the program, much to the disappointment of the younger students—sending out the junior supervisors during kindergarten outside time. Not only do they spend time with them during recess, but also help get them lined up, remind them to pick up coats and put away equipment. 


Macy says traditionally to become a junior supervisor, staff would notice students naturally being helpful outside, picking up equipment and assisting others. Sometimes, though, staff select students to help them grow into better leaders. "I would have fourth-graders coming up to me asking, 'What do I need to do to become a junior supervisor,'" Macy says. 


Add in that the older students get the feeling of being trusted, needed and valued and the benefits continue. 


"It is a great program and both grade levels enjoy it," Macy says. "These fifth-graders were little kindergartners at one time. I've seen them grow. It is great."