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 Definitions

  • 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. 

Participating PALS High Schools

School Counselor/Contact Email
Akins Eagles  Akins ECHS Joseph Saxe
Anderson Trojans  Anderson High School Tessa Popp-Guttman
Ann Richards   Ann Richards YWLA Abby Eakin
Austin Maroons  Austin High School Kat Kelley
Bowie Bulldogs  Bowie High School Alejandro Garcia
Crocket  Crockett ECHS Sharon Montgomery
Eastside  Eastside ECHS Eric Braden
LASA  LASA Joseph Pendell
LBJ Jags  LBJ ECHS Joseph Rauls
McCallum Knights  McCallum High School Richard Cowles
Lanier Vikings Navarro ECHS Mirtha Tabasco
Northeast Northeast ECHS Robert Walker

Participating PALS Middle Schools

School Counselor/Contact Email
bailey Bailey Jason Parker
“covington” Covington Jennifer Moczygemba
“dogie” Dobie Kendra Bircher
“gorzycki” Gorzycki Andria Sindt
“Lamar” Lamar Casey Schindler
“lively” Lively Andrew Gonzales
“small” Small Shaun Hopkins

Participating PALS Elementary Schools

School Counselor/Contact Email
andrews Andrews Clelia Parlange
baldwin Baldwin Deborah Alexander
Lindsay Holley
barrington Barrington Sarai Vazquez
blanton Blanton Pat Rios
boone Boone Nicole Lozo
casey Casey Natalie Turner
clayton Clayton Robin Johnson
Rhonda Rodriguez
cunningham Cunningham Marisa O'Connor
doss Doss Natalie Perez
govalle Govalle Dulce Gonzalez
hart Hart Danielle Trejo
highland park Highland Park Cari Land
hill Hill Stephanie Winfrey, Chelsea Stover,
joslin Joslin Stephanie Turner
kocurek Kocurek Angela Vera
langford Langford Evelyn Ramirez
lee Lee Leah Gilbert
linder Linder Becky Cardenas-Salinas
maplewood Maplewood Kelli Kirk
menchaca Menchaca Lisa Schmitz
mills Mills Kristina Kern
norman-sims Norman-Sims Nakia Avery, Stephanie Johnson,
oak springs Oak Springs Rae Comeau, Jane Kilgore,
perez Perez Isabel Marquez
pickle Pickle Brenda Hernandez
pleasant hill Pleasant Hill Elise Edwards
summitt Summitt Courtney Cardosa
ta brown T.A. Brown Emily Smith
walnut Walnut Creek Ana Vazquez
widen Widen Megan Lanier
williams Williams Karla Stewart
zavala Zavala Kenn Peters