Kansas City Public School leaders are inviting individuals, nonprofits, and businesses to volunteer for the district's new mentoring program that begins this fall.
The goal of the new mentoring initiative is for each student in the district, almost 15,000 students, to be paired with a caring adult to help inspire, encourage, and guide them to success in school and in life.
The first phase of the program is for half of the district's students, about 7,500, to be paired with a mentor in the next three to five years.
Volunteers will have to clear a security check before being cleared to work with students. Volunteers must commit to participate in the program for at least one school year, which begins this September.
Parents will be asked to sign a permission slip giving their son or daughter permission to be involved in the program. Parents and students will meet with the mentor at the beginning of the program to get acquainted and to set goals. The actual mentoring will happen during the school day for students working with individual mentors and on the weekends or afterschool for certain nonprofits or groups mentoring groups of students.
The Lead to Read program and Truman Medical Center have been mentoring elementary-age KCPS students through separate programs. Students' reading skills have improved after participating in the programs.
KCPS Superintendent Mark Bedell is bringing the district-wide mentoring program to Kansas City after a similar program he started in Baltimore, Maryland, where he previously worked, resulted in improved attendance and student performance. Derald Davis, KCPS Assistant Superintendent of Innovation and Special Projects, is in charge of the mentoring program.
Those who are interested in becoming mentors are asked to send an email to KCPS Mentoring Coordinator Sherenna Clinton at firstname.lastname@example.org.