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Mentoring - Grade Proposal
-- Anonymous, January 26, 1999
The Wrap Around Mentoring/Tutoring Program
I have been a member of a collaborative project between Independent School District 361 and Koochiching County Community Services called the Wrap Around program since September. This program was created in June of 1998 in response to a need of SED (Severely Emotionally Disturbed) children allowing them to have additional supports that would help them to remain in the community. Three areas of need were targeted: academics, social skills, and positive adult relationships (mentoring). The program was was divided into the three corresponding areas.
Once a student is referred, the next step is to have a meeting with the childs team. This could be the parent, teacher, social worker, psychologist, or whoever is in direct contact with the child. A case plan is developed which outlines what services the child will be provided with and who is going to provide them. At this time it is also determined whether the child is eligible for Rule 79. This is the state criteria which tells the case manager how to provide the proper mental health services. To determine if a child is eligible, a diagnostic assessment is completed with a psychologist or a clinical social worker. Next, the case manager completes a functional assessment and the services are then put into place. There is a review done on each case every six months, and at that time the functional assessment is updated, and changes are made if necessary. The ultimate goal of this program is to keep the child in their home and avoid an out of home placement.
Mentors and tutors receive ongoing support from the case manager. They begin their training with three two-hour meetings. This training is not a prerequisite into the program, but it can be very beneficial for the mentor/tutor. The first meeting was spent listening to the programs guidelines and policies, the different type of mentor programs offered, and facts on child development. During the next meeting the community services building was toured and a speaker talked about all the aspects of child abuse. This included actual cases, reporting, and the different services available to these children. The final meeting was spent talking about mentor logs, problem solving skills, and how to model them.
Once the training was completed, each mentor/tutor was assigned a child and a designated time to work with him/her. They may also be involved with the childs case review or other planning meetings to assist them in their role as a mentor/tutor. The childs classroom teacher also provides direction through use of a log to assist the tutors in their work.
I was assigned a child who was having a hard time getting things done in school and needed tutoring in certain subjects. We met three times a week for an hour after school and worked on whatever the teacher felt the child was having problems with. After working with my student for about a month the program was expanded. I was assigned four more students and given another teacher to help me. Now we meet twice a week, every Monday and Thursday after school, for about an hour and fifteen minutes.
Even though Ive only been involved with this particular program for about six months, I have been tutoring/mentoring on my own for the last four years. Over the last four years I have tutored four different students for extended periods of time. Tutoring was usually done in my classroom after school except during the summer. Then I tutored in my own home. Sessions usually ran for about an hour and most of that time was spent on doing homework assignments that were due. Some time was also spent on drilling in necessary areas, working on the computer, and playing Math games. I believe I had a good rapport with the students I worked with. This seemed to please the parents and made it a better experience for both the student and myself.
All the experiences I have had with the tutoring/mentoring Ive been involved in have all been very positive. Ive had the opportunity of getting to know some very interesting students. Spending time together has allowed us to enter into a kind of camaraderie with each other. I feel Ive made a positive difference in these childrens lives by not only helping them in their school subjects, but also by listening to them, being supportive of them, and guiding them in the right direction when its needed. Im finding that most of the students in this program do need some kind of guidance in their lives. Im not sure they understand or value all the help they are receiving from this program right now, but someday I think they will. Not only are they gaining valuable study and social skills, but also some helpful skills for working out problems in the future.
I am hoping that by May these students will not only be doing better in their classrooms, but also in their home and social lives as well. I think what most of them need is a little stability in their lives, someone they can count on, and someone who believes in them. When these students start experiencing this, I feel that confidence, responsibility, and determination will follow and hopefully become a part of who they are.
-- Anonymous, January 26, 1999