Curriculum with Mentoring Support
Texas A&M University Kingsville
CURRICULUM WITH MENTORING SUPPPORT 2
Curriculum with Mentoring Support
Mentoring, as research states, has long been accepted as a positive factor in business (Roche, 1990), in higher education (Obler, Francis, & Wishengrad, 1977), and with gifted students (Torrance, 1984). Mentoring programs throughout most schools has traditionally focused on the at-risk student population placed at the alternative centers, but with the current change in Texas standardized testing from Texas Academic and knowledge Test (TAKS) to State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR), the focus must change. In fact, there should be no focus but rather encompass all students. The support of a mentor can make a difference in the student’s academic achievement. The significant results of a mentoring program may call for further studies to establish the possible requirement of a mentoring program in all low performing schools in San Antonio, Texas and most especially at Southwest Independent School District (SWISD). Yet, like qualified teachers, mentors are getting scarce for our at-risk students (International Labour Organization, 2007). There is also an underline factor to this dilemma that aligns itself to hinder the implementation of mentoring programs and that is, who will be the mentors as a teacher shortage begins to increase. The shortage of mentors has and will continue to create a high demand as most schools become more and more diversified, especially in low-performing district schools. “Attention is a far more serious problem in urban than suburban school districts, and is particularly acute in low performing urban schools” (NYC Council Commission on the Campaign for Fiscal Equity 2005, p. 25). Mentors are relevant; and to complicate matters, if a teacher shortage reaches a
CURRICULUM WITH MENTORING SUPPORT 3 crisis level as in England at 18% (Daily Mail, 2010), then schools will need to replace the role of the teacher, thus hurting the much needed service of teachers as mentors (National Commission of Teaching and America’s Future, 2008). Currently, the National mentoring Database lists more than 1,700 organizations that support mentoring activities (Save the Children, 1999). In addition, and to complicate requirements to implement a mentoring program at every campus, the responsibility of the mentor has increased. Bexar County is steadily at the verge of answering to this status, “only 7 of 10 ninth graders today will get high school diplomas” (National Commission of Teaching and America’s Future, 2008). Therefore, the current mentoring population must model the best practices to avoid this prediction for the new freshman class of 2013-2014 scholastic year. In the last forty years, the United States has dropped from having the highest rate of graduating high school students to the number twenty-one place in the world. Simultaneously, the state of Texas began the transition of the STAAR test in the 2011-2012 school year. Approximately, half of the students that tested are expected to have failed. The increase in test failures is sure to impact the growing number of drop outs. The role of the mentor at this point becomes that much more important. Someone needs to guide these students through this academic transition and encourage them not to quit school. Mentors need to help build that bridge to help all students cross over to academic success.
Without a doubt, because of multidisciplinary and applied interest in mentoring and mentoring programs, reports have appeared in diverse literatures with some having been published by private foundations or organizations. This study will examine some of the diverse literature of the pros and