Austin ISD PALS (Peer Assistance Leadership and Service) is a youth empowerment and cross-age peer mentoring program that has served thousands of Austin ISD students since it was founded at Crockett High School in 1980.
Since its inception, PALS has trained high school students across the district to be peer mentors to younger students at feeder schools, serving as their role models and mentors. Today, the PALS program has expanded to training elementary and middle school students to serve as peer mentors. PALS promotes service, the development of interpersonal skills and community-mindedness, which helps to create a more positive and productive school environment.
PALS is a curriculum-based program accredited by the Texas Education Agency as an elective course.
- PALS are students trained in mentoring, leadership and cooperation by Austin ISD’s Counseling, Social and Emotional Learning and Trust Based Relational Intervention departments, as well as District-approved outside facilitators. PALS work with students at their own campuses and at feeder schools in their vertical teams to mentor, serve as role models and perform community service.
- PALees are students who are paired with a trained PAL from a higher grade. PALees typically spend 30-40 minutes per week with their peer mentor.
- Activities for PALS and PALees can vary from structured, outcome-oriented activities, to less structured play or conversation. PALS and PALees work in their pairs or form bigger groups for games or other activities. PALS and PALees stay on campus during their time together and are subject to school rules and expectations for conduct.