School-based mentoring is an ever-growing model for mentoring programs across Massachusetts, and a promising approach for reaching large numbers of youth in need of a caring adult in their lives. Given the pandemic, many schools are working to build up their virtual mentoring opportunities. According to Mass Mentoring Counts 2018, the biennial statewide survey of youth mentoring, almost 3/5 of mentoring programs are site-based, with almost 2/3 of those programs occurring in schools or other site-based locations. In addition, almost 80 percent of all mentoring programs cite a focus on youth at academic risk or youth who have dropped out of school. Mass Mentoring Partnership (MMP) is dedicated to establishing and expanding the reach of quality mentoring in schools across the Commonwealth by providing strategic services to develop new collaborations and strengthen current efforts.
Young people who are part of a school-based program benefit on numerous levels, including improving their quality of classwork, increasing the number of assignments they complete, and decreasing the days of school they skip (Making a Difference in Schools: The Big Brothers Big Sisters School-Based Mentoring Impact Study). MMP is working with several mentoring organizations across Massachusetts, as well as local school districts, to ensure that high-quality mentoring is an integral part of academic success. We have a limited number of hours available for free technical assistance for school-based mentoring programs and constituencies interested in starting a new school-based program or helping an existing one.
There are a number of ways that MMP can collaborate with your school, company, or organization in establishing or expanding school-based mentoring in person or virtually:
For schools and school districts, MMP can help:
- connect you to mentoring programs in the community.
- develop an internal mentoring program run by the school.
This can be done by:
- exploring already existing resources.
- exploring and developing potential new resources in the community.
Additionally, MMP can help:
- think through how teachers can be used as internal mentors.
- determine how to use existing programming, similar to mentoring, in accordance with best mentoring practices.
MMP worked with the City of Boston, Boston Public Schools, and a collaborative of leading school-based mentoring programs to increase the number of students in quality mentoring relationships in the turnaround schools in the Circle of Promise (COP). The COP refers an area which contains 12 of Boston’s 14 underperforming schools. Through this process, an immediate gap in service was identified at the Holland Elementary School. MMP worked with school leadership to strengthen mentoring efforts at the school, identify and broker a partnership of effective mentoring programs in line with school goals and student needs, and raise seed money for the pilot.
“MMP has been integral in helping Holland Elementary School establish partnerships with several local agencies in an effort to support our entire student population. Their dedication and commitment to our school has helped bridge the gap and support funding for increased service provision—we would be at a loss without them!” Suzanne Morrow, school social worker, Holland Elementary
For mentoring programs and corporate partners, MMP can help:
- provide information about schools in need in your community.
- guide the conversation and process on expanding your program into schools.
MMP facilitated the development of a collaboration to expand high quality school-based mentoring in Springfield in partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters Hampden County (BBBSHC), Springfield Public Schools (SPS), and Springfield School Volunteers (SSV). Mentor Springfield was created to leverage SSV’s rich history as the leading volunteer recruitment and corporate engagement arm of SPS and BBBSHC’s leadership in the delivery of high quality mentoring services. Mentor Springfield is initially focused on expanding and enhancing mentoring services to students at Chestnut Middle School (a turnaround school) and Forest Park Middle School.
“We saw an opportunity to pool the complementary expertise and years of community impact from Springfield School Volunteers and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampden Co. in partnership with Springfield Public Schools. Mentor Springfield represents an urgent effort to provide young people with the holistic support they need to succeed in school and beyond and is a statewide model for partnership in expanding quality mentoring for our young people.” David Shapiro, former president and CEO, Mass Mentoring Partnership
In collaboration with Mass Mutual, Springfield School Volunteers, Putnam Vocational High School and Springfield High School of Science and Technology, MMP worked to create the Mass Mutual Career Pathways Program. This program, held at Mass Mutual during school hours, offers mentoring opportunities for Springfield high school students that demonstrate a desire to pursue careers in business, financial services, and information technology. MMP provided mentor and mentee training and trained school staff in running a high-quality academically focused program. Additionally, MMP provides technical assistance during the facilitation of the program.
"Students need to understand the connection between their class work and what goes on in the world of work. Our students’ mentors at MassMutual are helping to make these invaluable connections. Mass Mentoring Partnership bridged a divide between the schools and MassMutual, giving our students an additional resource to achieve success in the future." Mary Kay Brown, STEM Administrator, Springfield High School of Science and Technology
If you're interested in learning more about mentoring in schools, contact Janeen Smith, Senior Manager of Program Services, at firstname.lastname@example.org.