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.  

While FCPS onboards mentors at any point during the school year, we ask that mentors commit to at least one school year.

When Schools Are Open To Visitors:  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, meetings typically take place during lunch. In middle school and high school, meetings typically take place during remediation time or after school. 
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.

While Schools Are Closed To Visitors Due To COVID-19:  For now, mentors may connect with their mentees virtually (with limitations that can vary by school).  Please remember that the core of every mentor/mentee relationship is face-to-face communication.  When schools re-open to visitors, the expectation is that mentors will resume meetings with their mentees on school grounds during the school day.  In most cases, virtual meetings will still be permitted as an add-on option.

We understand that each mentor will need to take into consideration their own health and personal needs before resuming in-person meetings with their mentee.  Please be assured that we will work with you.

Interested in mentoring students? 

Thank you for your interest in being a mentor in FCPS.  Please continue with the registration process outlined below.

Mentor Screening and Application Process

Mentor Screening and Application Process

All potential mentors will:

  • Attend a VIRTUAL FCPS Mentor Training session. Pre-registration is required. See registration link below.
  • Be cleared to mentor through the FCPS Background Check process (per Regulation 4119)

At the conclusion of the training, the FCPS Mentoring Specialist will arrange for fingerprinting and background checks

View the Mentor Onboarding Process Form

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.

The Power of Mentoring

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)

Mentoring Partnerships for Community Organizations and Businesses

What does a partnership look like?

Partner

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.

FCPS

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).

When schools are open to visitors: Mentoring takes place on school grounds during the school day.

When schools are closed to visitors:  Mentors may connect with their mentees VIRTUALLY (with some limitations that can vary by school).  When schools RE-OPEN to visitors, the expectation is that ALL mentors will resume meetings with their mentee on school grounds during the school day.  In most cases, VIRTUAL meetings will still be permitted as an add-on option.

How are school placements determined for mentors?

Mentors will be placed in a school that is convenient to where they live or work, so that face-to-face meetings are convenient when schools reopen to visitors.

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 are required to:

  • Attend a VIRTUAL FCPS Mentor Training session:  Pre-registration is required (see registration link below).
  • Be cleared to mentor through the FCPS Background Check process (per Regulation 4119)

At the conclusion of the training, the FCPS Mentoring Specialist will arrange for fingerprinting and background checks.

WHEN SCHOOLS ARE OPEN TO VISITORS:  
If your organization has at least 5 potential mentors, we can come to you for Mentor Training and mobile fingerprinting. 

WHILE SCHOOLS ARE CLOSED TO VISITORS due to COVID-19:  
Fingerprinting is required IN PERSON at the FCPS Administrative building (located at 8115 Gatehouse Rd. Falls Church, VA).   **The FCPS process for fingerprinting volunteers has been modified to ensure that it is in compliance with CDC COVID-19 guidelines for safety. 

Additional information can be found on the Mentor Onboarding Process form 

Learn more about Mentoring Partnerships.

Interested in finding a mentor for your child?

Mentoring programs are coordinated at the school level.  Please contact your child’s school counselor for more information.

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, Mentoring Specialist, mmacdonald@fcps.edu

The Foundation for FCPS raises funds to support the MentorWorks program. Your financial gift will assist program coordinators in their efforts to support mentor/mentee pairs through special events, activities, and field trips. Enrichment activities and field trips build community and eliminate gaps in opportunity, access, and achievement. 

Make a donation to the Foundation for FCPS