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.
- Reading: “Mentoring Underserved Students,” Principal Leadership, November 2015, pp. 44-47.
Faculty Group Discussion
- 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.
- Distribute the reading or the link. Allow time for participants to read closely and highlight important passages that support and encourage academic improvement.
- Begin the small-group discussions with the following questions:
- What personal example can you give about a milestone experience that helped you become a better learner?
- How and when did you become determined to attend college or postsecondary school?
- Assign a recorder and continue the conversation with the following Discussion Prompts.
- 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?