Each student is assigned to mentor from their school, Lintz said. “This allows for these students to have a ‘go-to’ adult that they have a strong relationship with from their home building,” she said.
It was clear some students learning through virtual-only experiences were finding it difficult to connect with school and their teachers, Lintz said.
“Because of this, their engagement with school and their social (and) emotional well-being were being impacted. As a district, we knew we had to try to do something in addition to what we were already doing to support our students. When funding was made available to support remote learning, using it to provide mentors seemed like one of the best options to continue to try to engage with and provide the help and support our students needed,” she said.
Mentors meet with their students about one hour per week. While building a relationship, the mentor determines the student’s needs, which could include organizational strategies, academic support or ongoing relationship building.
Mentors who provided comments on the program talked about students receiving emotional support in addition to assistance with reading and other classes.
“In my role as a mentor, I have been allowed into the homes and lives of our students. We have shared joys as grades have improved, tasks have been completed, and hard work has paid off. And we have had serious conversations about the need to stay focused and self-motivated even with the distractions in their homes,” a mentor said.
“The students have shared so much of themselves with me - their pets, favorite activities and family holiday traditions. I feel honored to be a part of our students’ lives and someone who helps support them during this very challenging time.”
Businesses were asked by the Northmont Area Chamber of Commerce to sponsor a student or students for $200 each. The response has been good, said Angie Clifford of the Chamber of Commerce and the schools’ community engagement coordinator.
“We have had some really good success so far. Many of the mentors have shared stories of their mentees joining more virtual class meetings and being more engaged with their school work and classes,” Lintz said. “Mentors have also reported that mentees and their families have appreciated having the mentor and feel that they have a connection to the school now,” she added.
Contact this contributing writer at email@example.com.