Discussion Guide

Schools don’t need to purchase commercial programs to ensure student academic success. Research and program development show that mentoring students and providing encouragement and support can lead to a significant increase in student engagement and academic achievement. A well-structured school program staffed with effective adult mentors and coaches makes the greatest connection between students and their school.



Faculty Group Discussion

  1. As much as possible, ask participants to sit in instructional or grade-level teams, or with content-area groups. Those without a team or department may choose to sit with a team or group that has relevance to their content area.
  2. Distribute the reading or the link. Allow time for participants to read closely and highlight important passages that support and encourage academic improvement.
  3. Begin the small-group discussions with the following questions:
    1. What personal example can you give about a milestone experience that helped you become a better learner?
    2. How and when did you become determined to attend college or postsecondary school?
  4. Assign a recorder and continue the conversation with the following Discussion Prompts.
  5. Submit your discussion notes to the facilitator.

Extend and Apply

  • Have each staff subgroup identify a design team representative. The team should schedule a meeting time.
  • The design team meeting should review the discussion notes and identify the “pointers” and additional strategies and actions from the discussions that could be implemented at your school to plan a new program or improve an existing one.
  • As a group, complete the Discussion Guide Planning Templates to determine next steps for implementing a new initiative or improving an existing one.
  • What support or professional development will be needed to ensure successful implementation of these strategies and the training of effective student mentors?