New Teacher Mentor program for Freshmen and Sophomores

Good afternoon, Parents.

This Wednesday afternoon, during our early release staff development time, we will be holding a “draft” of sorts where each teacher will be selecting 5-6 freshmen or sophomores that they will mentor for the next few years in terms of their Academic Career Plans.  Our goal in mentoring students in very small groups is to do everything we can to ensure all students graduate from OHS college and career ready–with a detailed plan for to move toward their dreams.  We are investing a lot of time and energy in helping students plan their pathways to the careers of their choice, because selfishly, we feel when students are focused on their futures, they will be naturally more focused and motivated in high school classes because they see clearly that they are preparing for those careers right now while while at OHS.  We feel that with teacher mentors guiding students individually in the career planning process, and being able to select each student personally because of some meaningful connections that make them feel like they will have considerable influence on each student, that these mentor relationships really have the potential to make sure every student’s career plans are carefully and completely considered.  If these mentors can partner with each student’s parents in this process, the career plans will certainly have even more impact on student’s futures.  

I want to share a few thoughts from the book, Dream Differently, by Dr. Vince Bertram, that will be the focus of some of our first meetings with students.  
“”Follow your dreams” is a nice sentiment, but it does you a great disservice because it fails to challenge you to examine your dreams and develop a plan for achieving them.” 
…”This means taking your dreams out of the clouds and holding them up to the harsh light of day–doing a little introspection.  Don’t just hold your dreams close to your heart.  Investigate them; try to understand them.  Be able to answer the question, Why do I want to do this?”
…”We all prefer our dreams to remain in this unchallenged state.  But an unexamined dream is a dream that will never become reality. …Most people never have the courage to take their dreams out of the sky and subject them to rational analysis.  Why?  Because once your dream becomes a plan, they you’re in danger of failing.  …The fear of failure keeps our dreams in our heads, locked away, where they remain pristine and unspoiled.  They also remain unrealized.  If you want to achieve your dreams, you have to examine them, put them to the test, and have a plan for making them a reality.” 
Our simple goal with our student’s Academic Career Plans, our Student Led Conferences with parents to discuss career plans and pathways, and now this new teacher mentoring approach with very small groups of students, is to help every student find a dream for the future and then convert that dream into a detailed plan.  We will certainly need to partner with parents to do this important work well, and if we can help students develop real and personal plans, we are convinced that all of our students will come to see that their work and growth in high school is a critical aspect in executing their plan.  
I would welcome your suggestions as we work to have even more of a positive and direct impact on all of our student’s preparations for their futures.  
Have a great week,
PS–Your students will be getting their test scores today in homeroom from their Forward, Work Keys, or Summative Aspire/ACT tests that they took last year.  Please ask your students to see these reports on their progress.