Peer Power Mission

Peer Power is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization innovating the public education system by inspiring and empowering youth to take control of their academic success. A successful entrepreneur and dedicated philanthropist, East High School graduate Charlie McVean founded the program in December 2004 to address the poor performance of Memphis’s public schools. Combining an incentive-based compensation model with the influential effects of peer groups, he launched his unique student-to-student tutoring method at East. The program was an immediate success and swiftly evolved into Peer Power.

 

After a decade, Peer Power streamlined its strategy and enhanced on the methods demonstrated to be most effective. This process culminated in the Memphis Model, a partnership between Peer Power, the University of Memphis and Shelby County Schools, that recruits high-performing college students known as Success Coaches to tutor public high school students in the classroom. This model improves grades, standardized test scores, and college and job readiness. In addition to academic benefits, Peer Power provides an opportunity for college students to gain job experience and the financial means to stay in school. The Memphis Model incorporates two Success Coaches per classroom, which reduces the student-to-adult ratio from 1:30 to about 1:10. This lower student-to-adult ratio improves the job satisfaction and performance for full-time teachers, leading to higher job satisfaction and retention of valuable teachers.

I want to be somebody, someday!

Kylea Spradley

I am currently a sophomore studying Biomedical Engineering at the University of Memphis. I also work as a success coach for Peer Power at East High School and I absolutely adore my job. The satisfaction from helping and encouraging young scholars is an overwhelmingly positive feeling that fills me with determination to constantly do better not only in my educational life, but in my personal life too. I take great pride walking into East High School knowing that I am not only a resource for the students, but also a mentor. I am that friend to talk to when something is going on, or even the outside opinion on a situation that shines the light onto a new viewpoint.

Peer Power to me is helping motivate students to graduate on time, and with dignity. Peer Power to me means inspiring that scholar to take the ACT again and raise their score, even if it is just by one more point. That one point can be the difference of a 2,000-dollar scholarship for college. Peer Power to me is getting the students excited for the endless possibilities past graduation, whether it be college or joining the work force. Peer Power to me is igniting the fire of determination and motivation under every student, and to welcome them into our world, post high school, with arms wide open, as that shoulder to lean on, as that support system when they need it.

Another reason why I love Peer Power so very much, is that it helps me to revisit old topics that I may have forgotten about when I was in high school. In turn, it benefits me in my college classes. As a biomedical engineering student, I take a ton of math classes. As a math success coach at East High, I get a refresh on topics that I haven’t seen in a long while, And if I am able to explain a topic, such as proofs in Geometry or absolute value functions in Algebra 2, to a student who may or may not have seen said topic before and for the students to understand it even just a little better, then I know that I fully understand the topic myself.

The relationships I have built during my time as a success coach at East High School are ones I will remember forever. Whether it be with my team leads, my teacher, students, and even other success coaches, the entirety of it all feels like a second family. I know that I have a support system at Peer Power, one that will always be there to pick me up when I am down, to congratulate me when I succeed, and one I can reply on in the future of my academic career.