Path To Graduation: Mentors
Written & Produced By Kieran Jennings, Grade 8, Schenevus Central School District
Did you know? Researchers at the World Bank identified mentoring as one of the most promising approaches to serve at-risk children around the world.
I know mentoring works because I have mentors myself, like teachers and aides, who help me stay organized, make good choices, and work hard even if I don’t feel like it.
“One of the really important things that good teachers understand is that their relationship with a student is what’s going to make the difference for that student in terms of success,” says Thomas Jennings, superintendent of the Schenevus Central School District in Upstate New York. Mr. Jennings thinks that all students could benefit from positive time with adults in school. “You may have a student who doesn’t like social studies or doesn’t like math, but they’ll work hard for the teacher because they have a relationship with the teacher, they like the teacher, and they respect the teacher.”
Mentors help students feel like they belong and are part of a community.
“One of the most important things for a student’s success in school is to feel connected with the school,” says Jennings. “The way that you do that is to make them feel connected with each other, with their teachers, and then also with the extra things that you do at school. Sports and athletics are really important for kids. Clubs and after school activities associated with clubs are really important. All those things need to be a priority in the school for kids to feel connected.”
Senator James Seward represents the Oneonta area in the New York State Senate. Senator Seward supports the idea of mentors in school to help students be successful. “I’m personally familiar with reading programs that have senior citizens who are retired and, as a community service project for these retirees, many schools have [them] come in and read books to students,” says Seward. “That is very beneficial because it helps to create a bond between generations, the older retirees and the young people in the community. It helps them to form a bond.”
I think all students should have caring and consistent adults in school. These mentors help students to make good choices and work hard. Students need to feel like they are part of a community that cares if they make it all the way to graduation. I think it’s only fair that if one student, like me, gets a mentor, then we all should. We can all use a little help to succeed.
This video was scripted, voiced, and edited by 8th grade student, Kieran Jennings. In partnership with the Oneonta Family YMCA, students explore education topics of personal interest while learning production skills from WSKG’s youth media curriculum.
American Graduate is made possible by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.