The freshman year is a critical transition that sets the tone for whether or not a student will go to on graduate from high school. The PENCIL Foundation and Cane Ridge High School are piloting Nashville’s first Academy-wide College-Career Mentors program. They are matching mentors with all freshmen to positively impact the dropout rate and raise students’ post-secondary aspirations. In a district where 75 percent of students are on free and reduced lunch, this program enables students to look beyond their circumstances to the possibilities beyond through the engagement of dedicated community members.
The program began in September and uses a compilation of in-person and e-Mentoring techniques to reinforce technology skills while teaching students what professionalism means, to think ahead about what college and careers might compliment their skills and interests, and help them see the importance of their education. College-Career Mentors work through the Freshman Seminar class and are matched throughout the year and can even Skype into the classroom on occasion.
This school year, the program has already matched 34 volunteers with 205 freshmen at Cane Ridge and continues to grow daily.
“We are excited to provide this opportunity for our students and will continue to grow until all freshmen are placed with a mentor,” says Freshman Principal Nick Wilson.
By concentrating efforts, Cane Ridge will provide a model for how mentoring can be scaled in the district and demonstrate the difference a culture of mentoring can have on a school and on students’ lives.
If you are interested in working with this program, please contact Chelsea Parker, Program Director at the PENCIL Foundation at 615.242.3167 x228 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Schedules and more details can be found at www.pencilfd.org/collegecareer_mentors.