Be a Mentor
Mentor with the MentorWorks program
Mentoring Students in FCPS
A mentor is a caring, responsible person who gives one-on-one time to a student and encourages the student to develop his or her strengths and capabilities. Mentoring is not tutoring and should not be grounded in academic support.
In FCPS, mentoring occurs at the student’s school site during the school day. Typically, mentors meet with students every week for at least 30 minutes. In elementary schools, these meetings usually take place during lunch. In middle school and high school, these meetings usually take place during remediation time or after school.
While FCPS onboards mentors at any point during the school year, we ask that mentors commit to at least one school year.
Mentors are usually assigned to a school that is near their home or workplace. Mentors and mentees are then strategically paired by school personnel. Mentoring relationships develop over time. If the relationship is strong and both parties remain in the area, mentors and mentees typically stay together as the student advances to middle or high school.
Interested in mentoring students?
If you are looking for an opportunity to mentor students, register for a mentoring training session via the Mentoring Onboarding Process form.
What do mentors provide?
- Attention and Support: Mentors provide dependable and consistent attention. They support their mentee by listening, guiding, and by encouraging them to reach their full potential.
- Enrichment: A mentor guides their mentee by connecting them with resources, safe places, and structured activities. A mentor encourages self-advocacy and helps their mentee see and strive for horizons and possibilities that may not be apparent to them in their current environment.
- Academic Support: Although mentoring is NOT tutoring, goal-setting and encouragement can increase academic success and school engagement for a mentee.
- College/Career Guidance: A mentor helps their mentee reach their full potential by helping them to discover and develop their interests. Mentors can provide assistance in obtaining a marketable skill through support of education, and by providing them with an opportunity to give back through community service.
- A tremendous impact on a young person’s life: Young people who were at risk for falling off track but had a mentor were:
- 55 percent more likely to enroll in college or career training
- 52 percent less likely to skip a day of school
- 78 percent more likely to volunteer regularly
- 81 percent more likely to participate in sports or extracurricular activities
- 130 percent more likely to hold leadership positions
Data from Mentoring.org (2018)
Mentor Screening and Application Process
All potential mentors will:
- Attend a mentor onboarding session (includes fingerprinting and mentor orientation training).
- Complete the Mentor Application and Personal Reference Form and bring it to the onboarding session.
Mentor Onboarding Sessions
- Pre-registration is required (see registration link below).
- All sessions take place at 8115 Gatehouse Road, Falls Church, Va. (Room 1180).
- Includes fingerprinting and mentor orientation training (entire session lasts approximately 90 minutes).
- Register for a mentor onboarding session (Google Chrome preferred).
Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) Background Check (Regulation 4119)
- FCPS regulations preclude anyone with a felony conviction from volunteering in the schools.
- Misdemeanor charges are evaluated based on the nature of the offense, the age of the person at the time of the offense, and the amount of time between the date of the offense and the date of application.
- Active law enforcement personnel are exempt from the background check but must attend mentor training. Please email Martha Macdonald at MMacdonald@fcps.edu before attending the training if you will not require fingerprinting.
Off-site Onboarding and Fingerprinting for Groups
If your organization has five or more potential mentors, we can come to you to conduct the fingerprinting and mentor orientation training. Please email Martha Macdonald at MMacdonald@fcps.edu to arrange a group onboarding.
What does a partnership look like?
- Partner-designated program coordinator will recruit mentors on a mutually-agreed upon schedule.
- Partner-designated program coordinator will work with FCPS Mentoring Specialist to coordinate training, background checks, and mentor placement.
- The FCPS Mentoring Specialist will train, arrange for fingerprinting, and place mentors in schools.
- After placement, every school has a mentoring coordinator who will facilitate mentor/mentee matching and will support the ongoing mentoring relationship.
What is the commitment for an individual mentor?
- We ask for 30 minutes once a week for one school year (can be flexible).
- Mentoring takes place on school grounds during the school day.
How are school placements determined for mentors?
- Mentoring is all about geography–mentors can be placed in a school that is convenient to where they live or work.
- It is also best practice for mentors to stay with their mentees as they move to middle school and high school, if appropriate.
- If a mentoring partnership is with one local school, mentors will be placed at that school whenever possible, but may also be placed in other schools within FCPS if it is logistically better for the mentor.
What is the onboarding process for mentors?
- All potential mentors must attend a mentor training session which includes required FCPS fingerprinting and background check.
- Additional information on this process can be found on the Mentor Onboarding Process form.
- If your organization has at least 5 potential mentors, we can come to you for the onboarding. Please contact Martha Macdonald at email@example.com to make arrangements.
Learn more about Mentoring Partnerships.
Interested in finding a mentor for your child?
FCPS mentoring programs occur at the student’s school site during the school day. Mentoring programs are coordinated at the school level. Please contact your school counselor.
Are you a business or community group interested in mentoring students?The FCPS Partnerships team would like to connect with you.
For more information on how to mentor students in FCPS or to learn more about mentoring partnerships with FCPS, please contact Martha Macdonald, Conflict Resolution and Mentoring Specialist, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Foundation for FCPS raises funds to support the MentorWorks program. Your financial gift will assist program coordinators to build community with mentors and mentees through special events, activities, and field trips. Enrichment activities and field trips build community and eliminate gaps in opportunity, access, and achievement. Additional funding can also increase the number of students who can participate in this valuable program.