Monday, June 1, 2009

New program to mentor 6th graders

From today's PG, describing a new program to operate through the United Way:

This program can be a good opportunity for students and mentors alike, although more details such as whether mentors can continue to work with their student beyond 6th grade are needed. Parents have long recommended a mentoring program, but it is not clear what type of input was obtained in the planning process.


Anonymous said...

It's nice to see a program that at least looks like it won't cost a lot.

Questioner said...

Here's an updated article:

It mentions a cost of $500k - $1M a year for training, screening, etc., for which community and goverment grants will be sought. So if eventually half of the district's 1800 students have a mentor the cost per student per year would be $500- $1,000. If 500 students have mentors the cost per student per year would be $1,000 - $2,000.

Anonymous said...

The principal at one school wanted teachers to mentor 3-5 students per teacher. Not to be insensitive, but shouldn't the childs first mentors be their parents.

No offense, but it is time for some of the parents to be their own childs mentor.

I teach and coach in the PPS, the interest some of the parents show in their kids education, and after school activities is deplorable.

Go to a Highschool football game senior recognition night, coaches and other highschool officals have to walk out on the field with the kids because their parents do not show up.

This is not only the football players, but band members and chearleaders also.

I have kids ask me to walk out with several times over the years

Frustrated & Sad

Questioner said...

Have you had the opportunity to ask some of these parents why they seem uninterested?

Anonymous said...

Of course some parents are single parents and may be at work. The situation that depresses me is when the kids thinks a parent is going to show and they do not.

Questioner said...

Definitely depressing. Does it seem like there is more schools can do by, for example, having both a daytime and an evening performance of a school play? And maybe someone needs to remind parents at orientation sessions each year how important their presence and attention are.

PPSparent said...

I'm never sure what complaining about parents not showing up is going to do? I mean, yes, it happens and yes, many kids live horrible lives with no set caretaker and no one to count on. Some parents are working, or they may be sick, mentally ill, drug addicted, etc. Grandma or aunt or uncle may be taking care of many other similarly situated kids, or may be too sick, old, depressed or uninvolved to attend.

This is our reality -- so let's address it head on. Figure out how to give the kids what they need, assuming that the parent/guardian can't be reformed/changed.

Ask every kid if they have someone who can come and let teachers or other staff be paid a nominal amount if they accompany a kid to an out of school day performance, banquet etc.

There have got to be other ways of meeting those needs as well. It may be a mentor, though I'm fearful of how scripted these sound -- and also at the likelihood of people dropping out, not keeping up with a kid, etc.

I guess what I'm saying is, of course there are parents that are useless or missing...we KNOW that, the question is how to address it in a way that helps the child the most. We can still try to get parents in, etc. but let's start with dealing with reality.

Questioner said...

It's the "assuming the parent can't be changed" part that I'm concerned about- I'm afraid this assumption is made and parents are counted out too soon. What is the percentage that would remain uninvolved if they received maximum encouragement to become involved?

PPSparent said...

Well, unless schools are going to be responsible for tracking down absent parents, curing alcoholism and drug addiction, and finding a way to get mentally ill parents to suddenly be well and focused on their children, etc. you have to *assume* that you can't change them (you know like how you don't marry someone assuming you can change them).

That doesn't mean you don't still do outreach to whomever the child lives with, of course you do. You try to engage them, gain their trust, etc. Schools need to be designed to encourage and welcome parents.

BUT a teacher's and a school's responsibility has to be to the child. We all have to stop saying that if only the parents were stepping up, all would be well. The reality is that there are people right now who are not stepping up and/or cannot step up. To wait around and not give those children what they need is criminal! A school's job is to educate children, not to rehabilitate or reform parents (many of whom aren't even around to change).

Anonymous said...

You're preaching to the choir. The parents who are reading this blog are the ones who show up. The teachers who a 'parental stand-ins' are to be commended. Too bad the parents of these kids often don't care enough to get involved with their children's education. I volunteer at my son's school because I enjoy being with the students and it keeps me aware of my son's school environment BUT I am very tired of wearing 4 hats at the school because others can't be bothered. And I not talking about the parents with real reasons (they often make an effort) I'm talking about those who are so wrapped up in their own lives they forget their children.

Anonymous said...

If you read the materials this project is funded by United Way (no taxes are paying for this), designed by Youth Futures Commission, United Way, Mentoring Partnership of Soutwestern PA.

FYI - you can't change a kid's parents without a court order. you can offer a kid a mentor, a caring, well prepared adult and you can change that kid's life forever.

Have you ever been a mentor? It is an amazing experience. Give it a try.