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Another area of concern was keeping track of number of mentors in program. Over years we have reduced this number - first we cut back to only professional staff having mentees. Staff who wanted to be mentors and had knack for working with these problematic students were asked to be mentors. A few educational assistants were also asked also because of their expertise in this area also.
Dramatic results were reported with a group of middle school girls. One of girls had to actually break away from group of girls who were bullying, so she could improve her reputation as a respectful and serious student. This was a difficult process, and she had 2 mentors working with her to help her make this difficult peer group change. The parent/guardian was not supportive. By end of school year, she had completely changed groups of friends, made honor roll, and received a multitude of awards for academic excellence at quarterly awards assembly.
So, don't worry that you don't have all pieces in place. You will learn and improve your program each year. Just start helping these kids! You will be inspired and kids will be thrilled and getting their education!
For more information on kick starting your mentor program, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
©2004 Permission granted to reprint this article in print or on your web site so long as paragraph above is included and contact information is provided to email email@example.com
Paula McCoach has been in public education for 23 years. She has been a school counselor for the past 10 in an alternative school and an elementary/middle school in Maryland. She has spearheaded mentor programs, Character Education initiatives, & Bully awareness. For more information, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org