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How to talk to schools about class sessions

All students participating in the iMentor program must take an iMentor class once a week for the length of their high school-based match. Class sessions are the main space where:

  • the curriculum is delivered to mentees through interactive discussion led by the Program Manager (PM)
  • mentees engage in a weekly online communication with their mentors in class
  • the PM provides pair support by checking in with mentees about their matches

Requirements for the iMentor class:

  • The weekly iMentor class is embedded in a core academic or advisory class period.
  • All iMentor students are programmed into the same class (e.g. English, Civics, etc) with about 15-30 students per class. Note: the host class can change from year to year (e.g. English for 9th graders, Civics for 10th graders) provided that all students in the iMentor cohort are scheduled for iMentor class every year.
  • Partner schools must assign a classroom teacher for each weekly iMentor session to assist the PC.
  • The class session must be at least 45 minutes long to thoroughly cover the curriculum, allow students to read their mentor’s communications and respond.
  • Students must have access to reliable internet-enabled computers during the entire session.
  • If an iMentor class session needs to be canceled due to holidays or school trips, it is important to let iMentor staff members know as much in advance as possible and reschedule for another day during the same week for curricular and pair relationship consistency.

Recommendations for the iMentor class:

  • First and last period class sessions can be problematic due to low attendance. Avoid scheduling iMentor during these classes.
  • Sessions should be held on the same few days of the week every week, e.g. on Mondays and Tuesdays, avoiding simultaneous sessions. There can be no simultaneous sessions if the program has only one PC, since s/he needs to lead these sessions.
  • Participation in iMentor is frequently factored into the grade for the academic course. This helps with student buy-in.

Some questions to guide your discussion on class sessions with schools:

  • In what class does your school anticipate the weekly iMentor session taking place in during year one?
    • How long is that class period at your school?
    • What does attendance typically look like for this class?
    • If the class is advisory, study hall or homeroom, what do students normally do in the class? Creating buy-in for the program can be difficult if the iMentor session is held in a class that students normally view as a free period or a time to do homework.
  • Can the class be held in a computer lab? If not, are there laptop carts available to students for every iMentor class?
  • In what class does your school anticipate the weekly iMentor session taking place during the remaining years of the match?