Designing and Implementing Effective Near-Peer Mentoring Programs in Secondary School

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1 Designing and Implementing Effective Near-Peer Mentoring Programs in Secondary School Advancing College Readiness through Effective Programming 2015 NCCEP/GEAR UP Capacity Building Workshop 1

2 The State of Near Peer Research Matt Orem, Director College Access, Institute for Public School Initiatives The University of Texas at Austin 2

3 Research Background Near-peer Role Modeling (NPRM) Non-competitive assisted learning (Murphey and Arao, 2001) Peer is not higher in status Facilitate the self-disclosure of ignorance and misconception Younger peer sees the older peers achievements as reachable and easy to replicate Shared experiences and interpersonal interaction can reduce test-anxiety and improve test scores In medical school, NPRM, has been shown to be a valuable resource for deeper understanding of anatomy (Evans and Cuffe, 2009) Research review prepared by Dr. Pratik Mhatre, UT Austin, Institute for Public School Initiatives, 3

4 Research Background College Access Use of Near Peers may be based on NPRM Use of theoretical frameworks from social-learning theory (Bandura, 1997) Observation, imitation, and modeling Middle school age students may be particularly impressed by role models In difficult school and social environments, Near-Peers working with students to achieve academically and prepare for college may provide contrasting model of positive behavior and social responsibility NPMs promote adolescents sense of worth, scholastic competence, academic achievement, self-regulation skills, and positive relationships with parents (Rhodes, Spencer, Keller, Liang, & Noam, 2006) City Year Whole School, Whole Child Model Corps members serve as role models for at-risk youth connect to students a a way that teachers often cannot. (Zin and Elias, 2007) Social-emotional learning is essential to implementing effective near-peer models Emphasizing establishing positive relationships and handling challenging situations capably Research review prepared by Dr. Pratik Mhatre, UT Austin, Institute for Public School Initiatives, 4

5 Research Background Research recommends that Near-Peers work directly with students to: Foster a positive school climate, Establish a solid school connectedness, Encourage capability and commitment, and Develop community/civic mindedness Research is fairly new and the use of Near Peers in College Preparation and Access is mostly anecdotal. Near-peer mentors, tutors, and advisors may add capacity to an overburdened system, but work is required to connect their involvement to student outcomes Research review prepared by Dr. Pratik Mhatre, UT Austin, Institute for Public School Initiatives, 5

6 Texas GEAR UP State Grant Near-Peer College Preparation Advisors Matt Orem, Director College Access, Institute for Public School Initiatives The University of Texas at Austin 6

7 Texas GEAR UP State Grant Near-Pears recruited, hired and trained summer before 8 th Grade Paraprofessional Title : College Preparation Advisor Assigned 1 Per School, remote staff with offices on school campuses Full-time benefit eligible employees of The University of Texas at Austin Funded 100% through the State GEAR UP grant Roles as described in the DOE application: Monitor student needs Provide families, students, and schools with awareness workshops and individual meetings Help ensure that the school is adequately implementing their annual strategic plans. 7

8 College Prep Advisor Structure Director Data Admin and Research Parent and Community Outreach Coach Student Outreach Coach College Prep Advisor College Prep Advisor College Prep Advisor College Prep Advisor College Prep Advisor College Prep Advisor College Prep Advisor 8

9 Responsibilities: Student Development Specialist Job Function 1: Design, plan and lead high quality and engaging education and awareness programs and activities for students and their families that are aligned with the goal of success and completion of school, including postsecondary programs. Function 2: Provide small group training and activities for cohort students to develop skills necessary for success in college and the workplace, including but not limited to: Visits to classrooms, colleges, and workplaces to expand understanding of postsecondary opportunities; Time management, organizational and study skills; Planning and goal setting; Team building and habits of good character. Function 3: Advise students in choosing and gaining entrance into academically rigorous courses, monitor and support student engagement in their academic work, identify and assist in placing students in engaging summer learning and leadership opportunities. Function 4: Track student experiences and personal growth. Maintain student-by-student portfolios through regular meetings with students, which includes the following: Current and planned course enrollment; Student and family goals for the year; Plans and opportunities for summer 2014 activities; Extracurricular activities including arts, athletics and academics; Career assessment results from instruments assessing interests, skills and abilities; Significant academic, behavioral or situational events. Function 5: Assist the Texas GEAR UP State Grant by collaboratively planning, supporting and occasionally attending events organized by CPAs in other of the cohort districts. Function 6: Build awareness and expertise in college access programming, postsecondary education admissions practices, college preparatory curricula, and local school district programming to support college-bound students. Educate, maintain contact with and develop appropriate relationships with cohort families to enhance academic readiness and financial planning for college. Lead in creating collaborations and contribute in building a college-going culture in the school. Function 7: Maintain contact and develop appropriate relationships with school teaching, counseling and administrative staff, while maintaining communications and relationships with Texas GEAR UP State Project. Function 8: Assist in the assessment and sustainability of the GEAR UP program by: Assisting the Project Manager and other Texas GEAR UP staff in identifying, collecting and interpreting key progress and outcome variables to evaluate the progress of GEAR UP; Submit monthly progress reports to the Project Manger documenting activities, progress and outcome data; Represent GEAR UP and CPAs, as requested by the Project Manager, to potential supporters and other interested parties. 9

10 Recruitment and training Recent college graduate with 1-2 years of experience serving students 4 weeks boot-camp style training in summer before 8 th grade College prep College access Student development Financial aid Case management Data collection and management School culture and organization Relevant laws and ethics School curriculum and degree plans Standards of service and protocols Goal setting and strategy Wellness, handling difficult situations and stress 10

11 College Advising and College Centers 11

12 Classroom Presentations 12

13 Career Fairs 13

14 College Visits 14

15 Participate in school activities 15

16 GEAR UP Week 16

17 Advantages Add capacity to the grant and the school Administrator The advisor is a great support system to these 8 th graders. This position has been a great addition to our school. Connection with the University Recent college experience Eager to try new ideas to reach students Positive role model for students The GEAR UP advisor encourages us to go to college. He is always around in the hallways and in lunch. Supportive resource for parents Parent: The advisor has always been there whenever I needed her. I like that she returns calls or s right away. She has been great and very informative. She provides information to me, and I go to her when I have questions. 17

18 Challenges Protecting their role in schools Access to students during the school day Titles, compensation Off-site supervision Summer activities when schools are closed 18

19 Productivity academic year: 7 Advisors, 6 high schools 918 students (average 131 per advisor) received 1,423 hours of advising 491 students received information about financial aid 946 students (53.4%) participated in summer programs 19

20 University of California, Santa Cruz Sofia Antuna Assistant Director, GEAR UP UC Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA 20

21 Overview Who are our near peers? Academic Interns are undergraduate students from local universities and colleges Daily job tasks See job description Tutoring in class, lunch, and after school Assigned a caseload of students to mentor and advise Staff try to match caseload to students enrolled in class(es) in which the intern provides tutoring Assist with administrative and program planning when necessary

22 Structure 4-5 academic interns per school site to work with students and 1-2 per school site to work with parents Depends on budget and cohort size One Lead Academic Intern per school site (when more than 3 regular interns at that site) In addition to regular intern tasks, the lead intern is a coach to other interns, interacts with teachers for program quality control, and provides orientation to new hires Employed August through first week of June Summer is not guaranteed

23 Hiring Job announcement is posted through UCSC student employment and announcements are coordinated at other local colleges Must be enrolled as full time student Strength in English, math, or science Tutoring experience or desire to pursue a career in education Math assessment and writing sample Bilingual (English/Spanish) is preferred Similar background to cohort students is preferred Often have GEAR UP alumni (or school alumni) return as interns Student must provide a negative TB test result and clear background check

24 Supervision/Quality Control Supervision Supervised by College Facilitator at school site Academic Intern Coordinator oversees hiring and assessment of interns for the center (various programs) Mandatory monthly professional development trainings Topics: Tutoring models, mandated reporting, etc. Quarterly Lead Intern Meetings with Academic Intern Coordinator Weekly or monthly check-in meetings with College Facilitator Quality Control Monthly Teacher Check-Ins Yearly Evaluations In class tutoring observations by Academic Intern Coordinator Performance Management Memo

25 Cost GEAR UP funds pay for interns and budget is reassessed/adjusted annually Able to apply work study funds for UCSC interns Roughly $8,000 a year for an intern who works August through June at 16 hours a week Must also account for Live Scan fees (fingerprinting)

26 Outcomes Focus Groups evaluation of academic intern program in 2012: One middle school teacher shared: I have a tutor this year, and it seems to be having a very good effect, because when she works one-onone or with a small group, the students she s working with are very motivated and she s able to push them beyond where they will go with the big class of 34 students. The kids who are not working with her at that particular moment are very interested in having a chance to do so at some point. So I ve seen it be very positive and effective. One middle school student shared: They [after school tutors] just help me do my homework and they talk to me about what grades I need so I would be able to go to college. Another middle school student shared: Well, [tutors] set a good example for you, because they re going to college and they help you to show you that you can do that, too, you can go to college and make something out of yourself.

27 California State University, Fullerton- GEAR UP Adriana Badillo, Director, GEAR UP, CSU Fullerton, Fullerton, CA 27

28 Near-Peer Roles Integral part of the academic and college enrichment activities Engagement through more individualized and small group support Proactive and timely interventions that address fundamental skill building to assist students move forward through course content Create positive relationships and serve as positive role models Aid participants make educational connections to their own personal experience and their potential future careers/professions 28

29 Near-Peer Program Model Implementation Expected Outcomes Increase academic performance Increase access to academic support and enrichment activities, through service delivery 29

30 CSUF GEAR UP- School Site Structure Lead Tutor Tutor Academic Coordinator/Counselor Tutors College Advisor Aide 30

31 Structure cont. Tutors (Tutor I, 4-6 per site) Primary role is assist students with their academic preparation and student services Academic Advisor Aides (Tutor II, 1-2 per site) Primary role is to support the GEAR UP Academic Coordinators to conduct structured small group and one-to-one academic advising sessions Lead Tutors (Tutor III, 1 per site) Primary role is to mentor and guide other tutors in the day to day work. 31

32 Recruitment & Training General campus and community advertising Work-Study students are highly desirable Mandatory Trainings One week before school starts Monthly during academic year 32

33 What we look for. Screening for potential skill set and purpose (Resume, Application, and References): Position links directly to future career and/or personal goals Collaboration Commitment Flexibility/Adaptability Availability Similar backgrounds as program participants; they are first generation and/or come from low-income backgrounds. GPA requirement Ability to tutor students in content area (math and/or written exam) 33

34 Advantages High competitive application process Provides selectiveness of college students Targeted recruitment in various students provides diversity in applicant pool Service delivery Most visible service component Assist with direct recruitment and all program activities Program curriculum and activity feedback Aid with more intentional, real time academic interventions Participants responsiveness Building positive supportive relationships (also with teaching and other school site staff) Increased retention (tutors follow up with students, parents, and teachers) 34

35 Challenges Addressing on-going challenges with professional development trainings (monthly) Assessing effectiveness in student gains from interventions Expanding true mentoring opportunities outside of academic activities Example- Positive Behavior Intervention Support (PBIS) High School Success Academy 35

36 Questions & Answers 36

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