Walker’s innovative “Star Check and Connect” program was created to assist students at Paducah Middle School who struggle academically as a result of behavior issues. The program pairs students with mentors that check in with them throughout the day, providing students with an outlet where they can feel safe to express their feelings and ask for help. Mentors check in with students each morning to discuss how the day began for them, ensuring that they got a good night’s rest, ate a nutritious breakfast and have their homework and materials ready for class. Before students go home for the day, they connect with their mentor to discuss the pros and cons of the day and to look over assignments. The program will improve student learning by keeping them in the classroom. In the past, when students with behavior problems became disruptive, they were sent to isolation or suspended, causing them to lose valuable class time. Walker, who lives in West Paducah, hopes the program will decrease behavior issues, improve student grades, lower alternative school enrollment and dropout rates, as well as increase ACT scores and the number of students entering college.