Peer Group Connection (PGC) is a program introduced to FDA III, through the school’s partnership with the Center for Supportive Schools (CSS).
Through PGC, FDA III faculty teach leadership courses to a select group of seniors, who in turn educate and support our freshmen. The goal is to help enable and inspire scholars to become engaged leaders who positively influence their peers. The PGC student leadership model taps into schools’ most underutilized resources – students – and enlists them in strengthening the educational offerings of a school while simultaneously advancing their own learning, growth, and development.
The program taps into the power of high school seniors to create a nurturing environment for incoming freshmen. Once per week, pairs of senior peer leaders meet with groups of 10-14 freshmen in outreach sessions designed to strengthen relationships among students across grades. These peer leaders are simultaneously enrolled in a daily, for-credit, year-long leadership course taught by school faculty during regular school hours.
PGC is CSS’s seminal peer leadership program, and has been implemented with a 70% sustainability rate in more than 175 high schools since 1979. A recently released, four-year longitudinal, randomized-control study conducted by Rutgers University and funded by the United States Department of Health and Human Services found that, among other major results, PGC improves the graduation rates of student participants in an inner city public school by ten percentage points and cuts by half the number of male students who would otherwise drop out.