Mentoring 2024

After four months of the Solomon mentoring program being in full swing, the initial nervousness and apprehension from students has subsided. The relationships between the Bigs and Littles have flourished, and teachers are noting improved communication and overall enjoyment in classrooms. This ease of interaction is attributed to the increased time spent together, allowing everyone to become more comfortable with each other.

Isaac Carolan, fr., is a prime example of a student who was skeptical about the program but has come to love his new friendship. In his opinion, “The challenges of having to build a bond with a new person that is such a different age was very difficult in the beginning.” So much so, that he admitted it crossed his mind to fake being sick, just to avoid that discomfort. “Initially, I did not want to go, but now I enjoy going every Monday to see him. He is a really nice kid. Now Mondays are one of the highlights of my week,” Carolan said. When asked what advice he would give to other students who may be struggling with their first time as a mentor, he said, “You have to try to think in their mind and their perspective, and think about what they are experiencing, or you won’t be able to build a bond.”

Another duo has been spending extra time together outside of the regular Monday time. Lance “Cooper” Carver, so., visits his Little occasionally during his SSAG period, and said, “I just felt like I wanted to help him out with different things he needs, and I thought it would be a good experience for both of us.” When asked about the importance of relationship building, Carver stated, “I feel like it’s important that [young students] have somebody to look up to and to learn from. So I think that [mentoring] helped me understand and see the way that I can impact others.”

It isn’t just the students that are happy with the program. Administrators are thrilled to report that Monday attendance has improved since the start of the program. According to PK-8 Principal Amber Fouard, after looking at Infinite Campus, the school attendance tracker, in September and October, before the start of mentoring, on average ten percent of the student population was absent on Mondays. However, in November and December, Fouard reported, “On average, six percent of our student population was absent.” She also noted, “The largest change was in the high school, during September and October the average number of students absent was twelve, in November and December the average was four.” Fifth-grade student, Lillian Hammersmith, shared her thoughts which complement the data presented. After excitedly stating that she looks forward to seeing her mentor on Monday, she said, “Usually Mondays aren’t my favorite day, I didn’t really like Mondays that much until we started mentoring, so it made that day a lot happier.”

USD 393 looks forward to exploring how to further enhance and utilize the program for the betterment of the students and community.