Peer Purpose Mentorship Program

“In April 2022, some 69 percent of public schools reported that the percentage of students who had sought mental health services from school had increased since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, and only 13 percent 'strongly agreed' that their school was able to effectively provide mental health services to all students in need (National Center for Education Statistics, 2023).” Now in the fourth school year since the pandemic disrupted K12 schools, students still feel the effects of remote learning and various forms of isolation. The loss of student learning is equally balanced by the student need for mental health services provided at school.

Lazarus and Sulkowski, in their book, The Three Pillars of Safe and Supportive Schools that Foster the Emotional Well-Being of Students, advocate for schools to provide students and staff with a school environment conducive to learning. They promote the identification and implementation of three foundational pillars that should be present in a school for students and staff. The first pillar is the Safe Pillar that provides policies and procedures that make schools safe. The Supportive Pillar is the second pillar that addresses the school culture and climate. The Mental Health Pillar fosters students’ mental health in schools (Lazarus & Sulkowski, 2024).

Some of the descriptors of the Mental Health Pillar for schools include providing social-emotional learning for all students; giving students information on how to seek mental health services; supporting at-risk and/or vulnerable students; making Tier II and Tier III interventions available; and, providing small group intervention, for example, bereavement groups and anger management groups (Lazarus & Sulkowski, 2024).

To address student need for mental health services during the 2023/2024 school year, Gilpin County Secondary School has contracted student coaching and counseling services from Bobby Jones, Bobby Jones Speaks, who presents social-emotional learning with his Peer Purpose Mentorship Program (PPMP). PPMP is a dynamic program to create emotionally resilient students. Jones provided a kick-off assembly for all students and staff in grades 6-12. Jones is on campus twice a month and teaches students PPMP lessons. He also meets with students in small groups as well as providing one-to-one student counseling and coaching.

The PPMP curriculum is divided into four sections: Student Identity, Self-Esteem Recovery, Emotional Awareness, and Relationships.

The first section, Student Identity, identifies the root of student problems and concerns. Identity builds a strong self-image, identifies how to handle their own emotions, and supports students to engage with the actual reality around them so they have confidence in the identity that lives inside them. The six lessons of Student Identity are Identity, Emotions, Confronting Reality, Overcome Negative Self-Talk, Trauma, and Emotional Safety and Empathy.

The next section is Self-Esteem Recovery. After a student understands their identity, they are prepared to face adversity with greater confidence. Students are aided in a quest to build emotional and mental resilience. Instead of coping skills, they learn self-protection mechanisms from their identity to overcome high-stress situations and survive. The four lessons of Self-Esteem Recovery are What is Bullying? Healing and Forgiveness, How to Rise Above the Noise, and Boundaries and Guardrails. 

Emotional Awareness is the third section and students learn how to accurately identify and process positive and negative emotions. Students are given tools to build joy, overcome fears associated with failure, manage stress, and use metacognitive thinking to become more self-aware and self-directed. Students identify the emotion so they are not controlled by it. The Emotional Awareness section has six lessons: Emotions, Building Joy, Managing Stress, Defining Your Limits, Prepare for Failure, and Confronting Reality.

The fourth section is Relationships. By teaching students the characteristics of healthy relationships, the value of belonging, and the skills needed to build and maintain healthy connections, students are prompted to consider disappointment, challenges, or painful disconnection that can occur in relational experiences. Students are equipped with necessary understanding and tools needed to navigate difficult relationships. The Relationships section has six lessons that include Healthy Relationships, Belonging and Connection, My Circle, Friendship and Codependency, Rejection and Betrayal, and Cooperation.

The PPMP is a three school year program. The first year of implementation was the 2023/2024 school year at Gilpin County Secondary School. PPMP implementation has been well-received by students and deemed very successful by school staff. The PPMP curriculum lessons, the small student group, and the individual coaching and counseling, is delivered four days a week every other week throughout the school year. 

PPMP helps students become more resilient through a better understanding and practice of Student Identity, Self-Esteem Recovery, Emotional Awareness, and Relationships to meet “the daily challenges they face without resorting to violence against themselves or others, including addressing the fundamental causes of violence and aggression and helping students become responsible members of their schools, neighborhoods, communities, and families."

We are a mountain school community with a lot to offer

The Gilpin County Undivided High School consists of the Gilpin County Middle School (GCMS) and Gilpin County High School (GCHS). At Gilpin Schools we believe in the safety, active engagement, and academic success of all our students. We are a unique mountain school with a lot to offer. Gilpin is based on the premise that all students can learn, and it is our job as educators to facilitate that learning. Our purpose at Gilpin Schools is to prepare students for college and/or the workforce. We strive to uncover student potential and inspire to motivate and engage our students.

Students at Gilpin operate in an atmosphere of student ownership where student centered classrooms are a priority. The Gilpin teaching staff is committed to be the best at what we do by continuing their learning. An important aspect of Gilpin Schools is the small class size and relationships established among teachers, students, and families. It is our belief that it must be a cooperative effort between all these entities to allow for each student to reach his/her potential.

At the Gilpin County Secondary Schools:
  • Students experience individualized instruction and small class sizes.
  • All Students are issued their own Chromebook.

  • STEM preparation through flipped classrooms in Math and Science

  • Advanced Placement courses offered in all core content areas
  • Dual enrollment college courses
  • Opportunity for vocational programs through Warren Tech
  • Students are an active participant in their education.

Students have an opportunity to participate in a variety of extracurricular activities:

  • Outstanding Fine Arts Programs that includes drama productions, visual arts, and vocal and instrumental music programs
  • National Honor Society and Interact Club
  • Student Council
  • Junior Achievement
Rocky Mountain Junior Achievement Education Partner logo (dark green badge with a triangle and the text)
Secondary Staff