New Mentor Program Supports Unengaged Students
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New Mentor Program Supports Unengaged Students

Ministry of Sound-bound DJ Astrid Fox has gone back to school, but not for her own education.

The energetic drum and bass producer has returned to Churchlands Senior High School to inspire 9th-grade students in the school’sSpark Mentoring program, which is in full swing after a successful trial last year.

New Mentor Program Supports Unengaged Students

About 15 students have brought their music-mixing skills to the turntable this term as part of the program to support unengaged students in learning life skills, including communication, problem-solving, and decision-making, to train them to be successful young adults.

They’ve already learned how to bill and count by the minute and have created music they can carry on their own USB to play at parties.

And they’re mentored and taught by the rising Perth DJ, aka Churchlands alumni Kylie Hodgkinson.

The DJ approached her former school to participate in the 10-week program to provide a positive role model to further engage students. And it works.

Nelson, 14, who has been part of the program since the beginning of the year, said Spark “made him want to go to school”.

“Last year, my attendance was terrible. I would come in late every morning, barely make it through the day, and then log out early,” Nelson said.

“But now I actuato school and get here on time, which I don’t think I would do ifhave donepark wasn’t there.

“My attitude has also improved, not only in school but also in life – I am much more productive, and I impimprove myself daily, learning real-life skills that are important to help us build our resumes to try and get a job, so I hope I can do it next year.”

Camera IconDJ Astrid Fox, and Kylie Hodgkinson, will perform next at the Ministry of Sound in the UK. Credit: delivered.

Jayne Kitto, the coordinator of the Spark Mentorship program, said the program came about because employees wondered what else they could do to support teenage students struggling with engagement.

“We just wanted to try and support kids who are good learners but who, for some reason, were just not interested in school,” Ms. Kitto said.

“The program gives them a taste of many things – they take a Certificate I in Vocational Pathways, one day a week work experience in a field of interest to them, as well as core subjects such as Mathematics and Science with one of the same three teachers.

“The data alone shows that 77 percent of attendees alone are present, as well as a reduction in behavioral problems just from the supportive learning environment that has been created.

“The kids love it, and the feedback from the parents has been overwhelming; now we have kids who don’t want to talk to other students or even talk to other students, joke with their peers and go to class – it’s fantastic. “

The students will enjoy two more terms of the Spark Mentorship program, hoping it can be funded as they enter their tenth year in 2023.

Once the program is over, DJ Astrid Fox will embark on her first international tour to play at the Ministry of Sound in the UK.