Become 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.

What do mentors provide?

  • Attention and Support: Mentors provide dependable and consistent attention.  They support their mentee 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 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)

What is the commitment for an individual mentor?

Mentors are considered essential visitors. When schools are closed to visitors due to COVID-19, mentors are allowed to meet with their mentees on school grounds. All mentors visiting schools must comply with school visitor policies. This includes wearing a mask while indoors and completing a daily health screening prior to entering the building when required. Anyone demonstrating symptoms of infectious illness, such as flu or COVID-19, should stay home and seek testing and care.

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 moves from one grade to the next.

Virtual meetings can be blended with in-person meetings. Each mentoring relationship is unique, so the balance between types of meetings (virtual or in-person) is determined on a case-by-case basis.  Each mentor will need to take into consideration their own health and personal needs when considering in-person mentoring at a school.  Please be assured that we will work with you.

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 appropriate, we recommend that mentors stay with their mentees as they move from one grade to the next and to middle or high school.
  • 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 does a partnership with a community organization/business 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 new mentors, arrange for fingerprinting, and place mentors in schools.
  • After placement, mentor and mentee pairs are supported at the school level by the school-based mentoring coordinator

 

Interested in mentoring students?

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

Educate Fairfax 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 MentorWorks program via Educate Fairfax