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By Spurgeon Thomas, photographer and blogger, http://urbanitylife.com

March 16, 2015 (Tierra del Sol)--Tierra Del Sol (TDS) Middle School hosted hundreds of 4th and 5th graders from neighboring Lakeside Union elementary schools in their third annual Student Teachers Educating Peers (S.T.E.P.) program on Saturday, March 7th.

With the help of teacher-sponsors, S.T.E.P. empowers the TDS students to design curriculum for a variety of their favorite subjects, including Drumming, Photography, Soccer, and Dancing. Grade school students followed a multi-class schedule giving them a glimpse of what middle school is all about. The student-teachers blew whistles and awarded smiling students with stickers, while energizing and inspiring their students to be creative and collaborative with new friends.

“Come on, work hard. You can do it,” instructed Eloy Flores, a sixth grade student teaching the soccer class. I asked Eloy what was included in the curriculum. ”I want to make sure everybody gets involved and has a turn with the ball to shoot” replied Eloy. He said his favorite part of the day was meeting new kids.

“Our student teachers are what make S.T.E.P. a huge success,” said Mr. Darin Curtis, ASB teacher and coordinator of S.T.E.P. “They take the fear out of the middle school experience and turn their thoughts of being on another campus fun and exciting. That’s what S.T.E.P. is all about.“

S.T.E.P. was adapted from Granite Hills High School’s Student Teacher Igniting the Next Generation (S.T.I.N.G.) program. On March 21, 2015, S.T.I.N.G. will be a day filled with unique, unusual, and inspiring classes taught by high school students for middle school students on the campus of Granite Hills High School in El Cajon, CA.

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