School Visit Objective
The school visit during the partner selection process serves as an opportunity for to continue to share information about the iMentor model and partnership expectations, beyond the initial information session or meeting. However, the primary purpose of the conversation is to learn more about a potential school partner by going “behind the data”. Through this conversation, you will gather qualitative information about a prospective partner’s current priorities, school culture, strengths and areas for improvement as it relates to students’ academic preparation and college and career readiness and access—all in order to better assess each school’s fit for partnership. For a MS Word version of the below agenda, click here.
- Introduction of school and iMentor staff (5 minutes)
- About iMentor (10-15 minutes)
- Review how the program works
- Highlight how iMentor collaborates with school partners to support students to and through college
- Answer any outstanding questions around the iMentor program model or partnership expectations
- About the prospective partner school (35-40 minutes)
- What are your school’s greatest strengths and accomplishments?
- What are the most pressing concerns within your school community? In what areas can your school improve?
- What are your current school priorities, specifically in terms of students’ academic preparation and college and career readiness, but also to include any other priorities?
- Do you anticipate any large scale changes within your school community next year; for example, expansion to additional grades, key leadership or staff transitions, relocation or changes to physical building, significant drop or increase in projected student enrollment?
- Why does your school want to partner with iMentor at this time?
- Why is mentoring an important intervention for your student population?
- iMentor staff highlights any areas that need additional clarification on the school partner application.
- Student Demographics
- iMentor staff highlights any areas that need additional clarification on the school partner application around the school’s student population.
- Academic Performance
- What are your school’s academic expectations for students as it relates to course sequencing, Regents passage, college readiness courses/AP courses, languages requirements, work-based learning requirements or other?
- Does your school offer any unique academic programs (i.e. Career and Technical Education sequences, IB, AP or college course offerings)?
- iMentor staff highlights any areas of concern or that need additional clarification on the partner application or publicly available data reports about school’s academic performance.
- College-Going Culture
- What expectations does your school have for students around college readiness and access?
- Tell us more about your school’s college counseling staffing structure and how your school supports students through the college application and financial aid process and transition to college?
- What is your school’s biggest challenge in the college access process for students (i.e. college application, financial aid, college enrollment, transition to college, college persistence)?
- If your school offers other mentoring services to students (i.e. Big Brothers, Big Sisters or internally created programs), please provide context about which and how many students participate annually and the structure of those programs.
- iMentor staff highlights any areas that need additional clarification on the school partner application around school’s college-going-culture.
- iMentor Model Fidelity
Schools that implement the program with a high-level of model fidelity understand the value and importance of iMentor’s programmatic elements in ensuring that students gain sufficient exposure to iMentor’s curriculum, and to their mentors as they seek to develop strong relationships that will support them in their journeys to and through college. iMentor has identified several indicators of model fidelity, which include the following:
Whole Cohort Enrollment - iMentor’s programmatic philosophy is based on whole-cohort enrollment. We believe that whole cohort enrollment eliminates self-selection, reaching students who need mentoring most. We ask that partners enroll all eligible students in a participating grade into the program and program all students for weekly iMentor class sessions during a core academic or advisory period for the length of their high school-based match (i.e. 2 or 4 years).
Weekly iMentor Class Sessions – At our partner schools all students in a participating grade take an iMentor class once a week for the length of their high school-based match. The weekly iMentor class is embedded in a core academic or advisory class period, and partner schools must assign a classroom teacher for each weekly iMentor session. What class does your school anticipate the weekly iMentor session taking place in in year one?
Monthly iMentor Events – Mentee-mentor pairs meet at least once a month to build personal connections while completing curriculum tasks (and enjoying dinner!) at evening events facilitated by iMentor at each partner school (a couple of times each year these events are held on a college campus). We ask schools to provide at least three staff members for each of these monthly events throughout the year (both for high school-based and external events). Regarding holding the monthly iMentor pair events at your school, are there any space constraints or other considerations that we should be aware of (i.e. other schools or programs in the building, advance notice for submitting permit for an evening event, number of cafeterias in your school building and capacity of each)?
Staff Support – We ask partner schools to allocate adequate school staffing resources to effectively support iMentor programming. This includes being active participants in annual meetings; visible presences at iMentor events and possessing a willingness to share relevant information and data to support programmatic success (i.e. class rosters, graduation reports, progress through college application and financial process, intended college of enrollment). At all partner schools a staff member from the school’s leadership team also serves as the overall iMentor liaison. In addition, we will need school staff support in educating parents about the school’s participation in the program and to assist with the collection of parental consents.
We would love to discuss some anticipated strategies we could collaboratively use to meet these expectations around iMentor model fidelity at your school. Are there things we should consider that may impact your school’s ability to fulfill these programmatic expectations?
- Depth of Integration
- What would your vision of iMentor’s integration into your school community look like based on what you know of our program?
- Is your school willing to include the iMentor Program Coordinator(s) in relevant faculty meetings (i.e., all staff, grade-team, college counseling services related, etc.)
- Would your school have office or classroom space for a Program Coordinator to utilize as a home base within your school?
- Technology Access
- iMentor staff highlights any areas for concern or that need additional clarification on the school partner application around technology access.
- School Leadership Buy-in and Support
- How do you anticipate communicating iMentor to your larger school community including staff, students and parents, should you be chosen as a partner school?
- Financial Investment
- How will your school pay for iMentor services in year one?
- How do you anticipate that your school will pay for iMentor at scale (i.e. $50,000 annually in 3-year program model and $100,000 annually in 4-year program model)?
- iMentor staff highlights any areas for concern or that need additional clarification on the school partner application around financial commitment.
- Next steps (5 minutes)
- Tech assessment
- Partnership Agreement review plus address any outstanding questions/concerns
- Partner selections for upcoming fall
- Program planning conversations with selected partners