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Empowering our Twice Exceptional Learners Through Peer Mentoring

Updated: Apr 16

By Jeffrey Galaise, Assistant Head of School, and Hannah Zingg, Guidance & College Counselor


At the Lang School, our mission is clear: The Lang School educates twice-exceptional children by offering these highly promising learners a child-centered, empirically validated education with integrated supports that foster independence and self-advocacy. Our mentoring program is designed to cultivate an inclusive and empowering learning environment where our students can thrive. 


For those who are twice exceptional (2e) - gifted individuals facing specific learning differences - we understand the need for personalized support and pathways to growth. That's why we're so excited about what's happening in our Mentoring Program tailored specifically for 2e learners. Our mentors are 8th-12th grade students who use their Friday afternoons to support Lang's Lower School Kidworks initiative. This allows our Middle and Upper School students to provide mentorship in field that reflect their interest and strengths such as Engineering/Building, Music, Art, Coding, etc. They spend 30 minutes of their time each week with our K-5th grade students teaching and leading activities as part of our Lower School talent development program.


Twice exceptional students possess remarkable strengths alongside unique learning differences. Navigating the educational journey as a 2e student can be both exciting and daunting. Our Mentoring Program is designed to offer a nurturing framework where both younger and older students can excel academically, socially, and emotionally. This development benefits all students involved. Our 8th-12th grade students are provided a space to practice empathy and communication skills, while our elementary aged students are able to connect with older students they can learn from and aspire to be like.


Peer mentoring transcends being merely a program; it embodies a philosophy centered on collaboration, growth, and connection. It's about tapping into the collective wisdom and experiences within our community to uplift and support each other. Whether you're a seasoned Lang student or a newcomer, peer mentoring provides invaluable opportunities for learning and personal development.


For our students, peer mentoring is truly transformative. It offers a chance to connect with peers who understand the unique challenges and triumphs of school life. Through mentorship, students not only receive social-emotional support, but also guidance in navigating their personal and academic journey. Peer mentors become trusted allies on the path to success.


Mentoring programs between our middle/high school and lower school students can be particularly beneficial for twice-exceptional learners, who possess both exceptional abilities and areas of learning challenge. Here are several reasons why such mentorship is important:


Role Models: Older Lang School students who are themselves twice-exceptional learners can serve as inspiring role models for younger students who may be struggling with similar challenges. Seeing older students who have overcome obstacles and found success can provide hope and motivation.


Understanding and Empathy: High school mentors may have firsthand experience with the difficulties that come with being twice-exceptional. This understanding can help them empathize with younger students and offer support in a way that teachers or parents may not be able to do as easily.


Peer Support: Mentoring creates a supportive peer network for twice-exceptional learners. Lower school students can benefit from the guidance and encouragement of older students who share similar experiences, helping them feel less isolated and more connected within their school community.


Social Skills Development: Twice-exceptional learners often struggle with social skills due to their unique combination of strengths and weaknesses. Middle/High school mentors can serve as social coaches, helping younger students navigate social interactions and develop friendships in a supportive environment.


Boosting Self-Esteem: Interacting with older students who understand their challenges and appreciate their strengths can help boost the self-esteem of twice-exceptional learners. Positive reinforcement and encouragement from mentors can help them recognize their abilities and build confidence in their own potential.


Fostering Leadership Skills: Serving as mentors allows middle/high school students to develop communication, empathy, and problem-solving skills that are essential to developing strong leaders. By guiding and supporting younger students, they learn valuable lessons in responsibility and teamwork.


At the Lang School, we recognize that building a strong community is key  to our collective achievements. Peer mentoring is just one of the many ways we unite to support and uplift one another. As we face the challenges and embrace the opportunities ahead, let us embrace the power of connection, collaboration, and mentorship to forge a more resilient and supportive community together.

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