cps Launches New Mentoring Program for Kindergarten and 8th Graders
Lee Edwards | 12/31/2013, 11:44 a.m.
Chicago Public Schools (CPS) has launched Mentoring the Next Generation, a new district-wide school volunteer initiative for CPS staff to provide students in kindergarten and 8th grade with extra instruction and preparation for their next steps in education.
The Mentoring the Next Generation program will give all CPS employees the opportunity to provide additional literacy training and support for students. The program is in concert with the CPS Five-Year Action plan to ensure that every child graduates 100 percent college-ready and 100 percent college-bound.
Beginning this January, CPS employees can volunteer at elementary schools throughout the District for one-hour mentoring sessions with students in kindergarten and grade 8. Mentors will provide assistance in reading and writing.
“All students need mentors and positive role models to advocate for them and support their success,” said CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. “I strongly encourage this endeavor that will help build the solid literacy skills that are essential to the foundation of a promising future for all students.”
“Every one of us has a stake in the success of our next generation,” said CPS Deputy Press Secretary Lauren Huffman. “Research indicates that positive adult-child relationships are identified as one of six key elements in a balanced approach to literacy instruction and contribute to the acquisition of strong foundational skills among young learners. The additional presence of an engaged, trained adult mentor can make a substantial difference on their achievement in and outside of school.”
All CPS Central Office and non-building employees are eligible to enroll as mentors for either two kindergarten students for one half hour each or one eighth grade student for the full hour. Research indicates that positive adult-child relationships are identified as one of six key elements in a balanced approach to literacy instruction and contribute to the acquisition of strong foundational literacy skills among young learners. In turn, this volunteer opportunity will allow mentors a hands-on opportunity to support students and cultivate a desire to learn.
Each mentor will be required to participate in a two-hour professional learning session prior to receiving their school assignments. The Next Generation Mentors will be given learning packets, including a variety of literacy materials, designed to help to structure activities and stimulate learning with students. The packets and dedicated mentoring sessions are intended to support—not replace—the expert guidance and classroom resources provided by classroom teachers. Principals at schools partnering with the program will oversee the matching of mentors to students and schedule classroom visits. Currently, the Mentoring the Next Generation program does not extend to alternative school students.
Mentors cannot buy any gifts, presents or rewards for students.
Chicago Public Schools serves 400,000 students. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.
For more information visit http://www.cps.edu/Pages/home.aspx.