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S.T.E.V.E. Pro-Tip: Getting the Biggest Bang for Your Buck

Time is a valuable commodity for staff responsible for supporting pairs.  When it comes to determining which pairs need the most support, developing quick and easy ways to create focus lists is an essential skill.  Doing so ensures that the support efforts spent are well directed and have the potential for high impact.

In this article, we will explore the use of the Focus Finder within S.T.E.V.E. to generate a list of mentees and mentors to target for support with regards to increasing online engagement.

"Find the Culprit"

While admittedly not the most strength-based name for a strategy, it gets to the heart of the goal: Determining whether support efforts around increasing pair engagement should be focused on the mentee or the mentor.  This technique has been used with pairs in iMentor programming and has been proven to be extremely helpful in the creation of targeted focus lists to increase online engagement.  It is often to begin this strategy from a higher level and work down to the pair level.  To do so, follow the steps below, using a single PM as an example:

NOTE: It is not always necessary to begin at the caseload level to leverage this strategy, and if desired, you can skip straight to the Focus Finder section below.

  1. Navigate to the Mentees and Mentors dashboard within S.T.E.V.E. and select a PM from the "Select Program Manager" drop-down;

  1. Observe whether mentees are outperforming mentors or vice versa in the aggregate across all pairs.  In the example above, mentees are outperforming mentors by a margin of 8 points.  In the aggregate, this indicates that mentors are the "culprit" when it comes to reducing the overall percentage of pairs meeting the weekly online engagement target.

Once you have identified your "culprit," it is time to drill down to the pair level to determine where you can get the "biggest bang for your buck" when providing support to lower performers.  Below, a method for is outlined:

  1. Navigate to the Focus Finder tab within S.T.E.V.E.;
    • There is no need to re-apply the PM filter if already done in the previous step as S.T.E.V.E. will remember your previous selection.  However, if that step was skipped, the first step would be to select a PM from the "Select Program Manager drop-down.
  2. Use the "Mentee or Mentor Completing More" filter to display your "culprits";
    • In this case, because we have identified mentors as the "culprit," we will select "Mentee Completing More Lessons."

  1. The focus finder now displays all mentors being outperformed by the mentee with regards to weekly online engagement.  Before taking any action with this group of pairs, explore further into the pair-level context.
    • First use the "Mentee - Mentor Diff" column on the Focus Finder to sort the list.  This will sort the pairs by the greatest to least difference in the percentage of lessons they have respectively completed.  Pairs with a small difference may require no intervention as the difference is not large enough to cause concern.  Similarly, if a pair's completion percentage is high, the difference between mentee and mentor may not necessitate action.

Taking Action!

The process outlined above will arm you with a list of individuals/pairs to focus your efforts on regarding weekly online engagement and there are a number of things you can do to drive these efforts forward, including but not limited to:

  • Treating the list of "culprits" like a focus list
    • Essentially, the process described above is one way to create a focus list and with the filtered group of mentors/mentees/pairs.  
    • Once you have the list, you can reach out to mentors via phone to have a discussion about the importance of consistency (if the mentors are, in fact, the "culprits"), discuss mentor engagement frequency during a mentor huddle (if a significant number of mentors are not living up to the commitment they made, discussing in class (if a good deal of mentees are, in fact, the "culprits") or monitor weekly engagement very closely for the pairs you identified and send more proactive messaging around completing lessons in real-time. 
  • Sending targeted or bulk email messaging
    • The Focus Finder includes mentor email addresses, so if mentors are the "culprits," the tool can be used to quickly generate a list of addresses to bcc with bulk messaging - instructions below;
      • To export the Focus Finder list into an Excel file:
        1. Click on any single cell within the Focus Finder dataset and click the "Download" button, then select "Crosstab";

  1. Once the download is prepared, S.T.E.V.E. will notify you - Click download and the Excel file will appear wherever your browser typically places downloaded material;

  1. Copy the column with mentor email addresses within it and paste it into the bcc field of an email.
    • Alternatively, you can copy and paste individual email addresses from the Focus Finder to send targeted messaging to mentors with a more personal touch (i.e., including context that you gained from speaking to the mentee in school, tips/tricks for engaging more deeply with mentees, etc.)
  • Checking  in with school partner staff
    • If mentees are identified as the "culprit," PMs might consider sharing the list generated via the process above with school partner staff to get their thoughts on how to engage mentees more consistently.  Additionally, the list can be used to identify other staff within the school that have a strong relationship with individual mentees to collaborate on strategies for engaging that young person.


Still have questions or need assistance with this pro-tip?  Click HERE to contact a member of the National team for help