Central Park East High School – Peer Group Connections Partnership


About the Practice

Peer Group Connections is a peer-to-peer mentoring program that is designed to ease the transition to high school for new ninth grade students. The Center for Supportive Schools created the program which provides top rate training for instructional and leadership staff at our school, who in turn train eleventh grade peer leaders to conduct weekly outreach session with small groups of ninth grade students. These outreach sessions focus on multiple social and emotional topics that typically can hinder a transitioning ninth grader from having a productive first year of high school.
PGC happens every Thursday for every ninth grader and has become an important non-negotiable part of the fabric of our Freshman Seminar program. Eleventh grade students have PGC Leadership class every day of the week. CPEHS is in its second year of implementing the program and it has quickly become the bedrock of our ESI identity. CPEHS has a PGC leadership team that is led by assistant principal Mayra Messi, teacher Vivian Puhalovic and guidance counselor Liz Schrittwieser. It takes a hard working highly collaborative team to make this program work!

Connections to ESI and CRE Goals

Target Population/Total Students:

All ninth grade students, 20 eleventh grade students.


  • Committing to multi-day initial and follow-up training.
  • First year expenses.
  • Programming difficulties
  • Space for outreach sessions.

How did school overcome challenges?

By being completely focused on doing everything that the Center for Supportive Schools said was necessary to have an effective program and not cutting any corners! The PGC instructional team meets every week to discuss outreach, special programming and events, and other PGC related issues.

How will you continue to sustain this practice?

It will be sustained, and the pricing model makes it easy to plan for this. PGC has a large year 1 payment, but in subsequent years the cost is significantly lower. This is one of the main reasons we chose to implement this program.