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 Jennifer Mattheis
Anderson Trojans  Anderson High School Tessa Popp-Gutmann, Madeline Wheeler,
Ann Richards   Ann Richards YWLA Abby Eakin
Austin Maroons  Austin High School Mel Stewart
Bowie Bulldogs  Bowie High School Alejandro Garcia
Crocket  Crockett ECHS Bobbi Graves
Eastside  Eastside    
LASA  LASA Joseph Pendell
LBJ Jags  LBJ ECHS Mohneesha Washington
McCallum Knights  McCallum High School Richard Cowles
Lanier Vikings Navarro ECHS Mirtha Tabasco
Northeast Northeast ECHS    
Travis Travis ECHS Tabitha Havlin

Participating PALS Middle Schools

School Counselor/Contact Email
bailey Bailey Jason Parker
“covington” Covington Devonte Adamson
“dogie” Dobie Margaret Bachicha
“gorzycki” Gorzycki Andria Sindt
“Lamar” Lamar Casey Schindler
“lively” Lively Andrew Gonzales
“sadler-means” Sadler-Means Rosalind Oliphant
“small” Small Shaun Hopkins

Participating PALS Elementary Schools

School Counselor/Contact Email
andrews Andrews Clelia Parlange
baldwin Baldwin Deborah Alexander
Lindsay Holley
Barbara Jordan Barbara Jordan Dorcas Seals
barrington Barrington Emily Smith
blanton Blanton Pat Rios
boone Boone    
T.A. Brown T.A. Brown Nin Emery
casey Casey Natalie Turner
clayton Clayton Megan Lanier
cunningham Cunningham Marisa O'Connor
doss Doss Natalie Perez
govalle Govalle Dulce Gonzalez
Joslin Joslin Stephanie Turner
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
mathews Mathews Stephanie Reyna
menchaca Menchaca Lisa Schmitz
mills Mills Kristina Kern
norman-sims Norman-Sims Nakia Avery, Stephanie Arrellanes,
oak springs Oak Springs Jane Armonstrong, Heather Mills,
odom Odom Shannon Saul
overton Overton Jasmine Lee
Pecan Springs Pecan Springs Amy Heath
perez Perez Isabel Marquez
pickle Pickle Brenda Hernandez
pleasant hill Pleasant Hill Elise Edwards
summitt Summitt Rachel Richards
walnut Walnut Creek Ana Thornton
widen Widen Leticia Fuentes
williams Williams Jodi Arguello
zavala Zavala Kenn Peters