Student leaders tasked to present new R-factor program to peers

Evelina Gaivoronskaia | Staff Writer

Rather than having administration implement it, the R-factor program will rely on student leaders for its success. Senior Jackson Norman (far left) discussed the program with students from Lakota West.

The R-factor program promises to bring a positive atmosphere to Mason High School.

Mason City Schools plans to introduce a new program, the R-factor, to help students better their lives and find a better way to react to everyday situations. On October 28, 143 MHS students attended a seminar introducing them to the program. Those students will be part of leading the program later in the year by teaching it to their peers.

The search for a better school atmosphere was started after the high school experienced four suicides, four years in a row. Sophomore Madison Kopfler said the MHS needed a program that would provide students a way to make good decisions and have a positive mindset. She says that the R-factor just might be that program.

 “I’m happy we have another way to spread leadership and positivity,” Kopfler said. “I think that after they hear about the R-factor people will be kinder and more understanding.  I think we will connect with other people more. Part of the R-factor is building the community and the connections between people so I’m really excited to see that at MHS.”

The R-factor is a six-step program that helps students find a way to cope with day-to-day situations. Kopfler said she hopes that because the program is student-led it will find a way to stick around in Mason City schools for the long run. 

“The equation, E+R=O, is about how, even though you can’t control the events that are happening in your life, you can control your responses which then will impact your outcome,” Kopfler said. “Although, I don’t think we should use the E+R=O formula because it might get made fun of. We talked about putting posters in the walls or maybe even using MBC as a way to advertise the R-factor.”

The E+R=O formula of the R-factor has been on posters and t-shirts all around the school for some time now. Yet now the program is more student lead, in hopes that it will be better received by the student population. Senior Anna Attal said that the R-factor provides students with great decision-making skills and she hopes it will be received well at MHS.

“Sometimes when things come from the administration it can be a little bit disjointed,” Attal said. “Students can feel like they can’t connect with it as much in their daily life. But when it comes from peers who have tried this, liked this, and know how to use it, students are more likely to use this program.”

Many MHS students have to balance academics, sports, clubs as well as try to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Attal said the R-factor is a way for students to find solutions to any roadblocks they may cross on the way to being their best selves.

“I’m excited to see how the R-factor will change people’s mindsets,” Attal said. “I think there is a lot of negativity surrounding academics and sports. I think we can avoid that negativity by having people consciously think about how their actions are affecting other people and themselves.”

To make the program student-led, sixth bell teachers selected students from their classes who showed enthusiasm and leadership skills. Freshman Victoria Bate was one of the people who got selected. She said that the R-factor is a way for students to deal with any situations in their day to day life. 

“I think a lot of times when we are faced with difficult situations we clam up or see only one path forward,” Bate said. “I think the R-factor gives us a system that we can use not only to make decisions but also understand how those decisions should be made and what their outcomes are going to be.”

The student leaders chosen to teach the R-factor will be tasked with coming up with ways to spread the program around MHS. The school administration wants the leaders to teach the program to their peers during their sixth bell. Besides that, the leaders have the freedom to come up with ways to spread the R-factor around the school. Bate wants to take the program in a way where it will be more individual to the people she’ll work with.

 “R-factor is an algorithm that we can rely on but I want to tweak it for individuals,” Bate said. “I want to put together the pieces of the puzzle that is the R-factor in relation to specific, individual people. What I would really like to see is small group based work where I would be able to get to know people and people will be able to get to know me as a human.”

The R-factor program states that its way of living can be instituted for school and anything beyond. The student teachers will also be benefited by the program. Bate said she sees this program as a way to help herself as she teaches it to her classmates.

“Using the awareness of how I speak to myself and understanding that skills take time to build will really help me build my self-esteem and retain ambition,” Bate said.

Right now the focus is on training the student leaders to be able to teach the R-factor to the rest of the MHS. Attal said that although she knows that the change won’t be visible immediately, in the end, the R-factor has a great chance of changing the MHS for the better.

“I think that will eventually lead to a more positive school atmosphere,” Attal said. “I think it will take time and time is going to be the big piece here. We can’t expect to see a change by tomorrow, but I think the longer we implement the R-factor, the better the school culture will become.”