Today, Corbin, Michael, and I all met and discussed a new program that we are trying to start up. It’s called Start To Finish. The main goal of this program is to get underachieving students in high schools to graduate. Of course, there are many many MANY logistics to this. But, the proposal that we have written is attached.
Start To Finish: A Scholastic Mentor Program
This proposal is to set forth the ideas and execution of a college to high school mentor program. The program targets students who might have trouble graduating under their present circumstances, specifically larger high schools where graduation rates are less than ideal. College mentors and their students will pair up, providing the students with academic resources and keeping them focused on high school graduation. As college students, the mentors are provided with a unique perspective, allowing them to relate, tutor, and advise the high school student.
For years, the United States has attempted to remedy its weakness in the public school system. Standardized tests were a way to gauge the improvement in education, but teaching has become a practice of raising test scores. This has led to more goal-oriented teaching styles which, combined with a rising student-to-teacher ratio, has led to less focus on the individual needs of each student. Some students can handle this changing environment, but others are less well adapted, especially those without the will or reason to concentrate on school.
This is where a teenager’s role models factor into the equation. Parents are, and have always been, the number one influence in their child’s life. Their time, support, and encouragement make a significant difference in a student’s education. However, many parents find themselves wishing they could spend more time facilitating their child’s education. However, other daily obstacles, such as work, miscellaneous errands, and family care, eventually get in the way of finding enough time. This is where the mentor program can play a critical role: it can become a helping hand to the parent and provide a role model for the student.
The basic premise of the program is to set up one college mentor with one high school student. The primary concentration is on improving the high school student’s academic achievement and ensuring the student?s graduation. The process through which this goal is accomplished is generally up to the mentor, but periodic tutoring sessions, communication with teachers and parents, as well as reviewing progress reports are all activities the mentors are expected to perform.
To get this program started, a variety of challenges need to be tackled. Currently, several students at Georgia Tech are being asked about their possible levels of participation. At the same time, specific administrators and professors have been asked for their input and support for the program. Through these participants, contacts will need to be extended to potential high schools.
When a participating high school is identified, the program will be discussed with the school’s guidance counselors, principles, teachers, and other school officials. From these discussions, rising high school students will be identified, and their families will be invited to participate in the first run of the mentor program. At the same time, the first college mentors will be recruited, most of whom will likely first year college students. The initial start-up of the program will consist of only a few student-mentor pairs. This way, there is no risk of being overwhelmed and any problems that arise can be dealt with in confidence. The high school students and mentors will meet a few times before the start of the high school student?s freshmen year, in order for them to get to know each other.
This relationship forms the cornerstone of the program’s integrity and demonstrates the contrast between a standard tutor-student relationship. The small difference in age allows for the student to connect with their college mentor, but at the same time still allows for the mentor to secure his/her role as an authority figure. The years spent working with each other provides accountability and a commitment to success not found in any tutor program. In essence, the strength of the student-mentor bond is combined with the tutor mentality to cement a productive and long lasting relationship.