icouldbe.org is at the 2010 NAIS Conference!

This Wednesday through Friday (February 24-26), icouldbe.org’s very own Director of Strategic Development, Elizabeth Moran will be at the National Association of Independent Schools annual conference in San Francisco to introduce the independent school community to the wonders of icouldbe’s mentoring program. This year’s conference is about the “Superheroes” of education in our midst, change agents themselves, who’ve successfully dealt with adversaries and naysayers to create extraordinary new ways of contributing to the world — people who inspire and teach us how to live a life full of courage. Our innovative partners from Purnell School will be there too, talking about their first annual Summer Institute for Teachers.

Are you attending? Click here to visit the conference’s home page, and find out more. And be sure to seek out Elizabeth from icouldbe, who’d love to meet you!

If you’re not attending, you can follow the conference through the Twitter hashtag – #naisac10. Oh, and if you are on Twitter – you can follow us as well!

icouldbe a president

Today’s holiday honors past presidents who have led our country, as well as the February birthdays of America’s Presidents, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

In addition to looking at the leaders of our past, President’s Day is a time to look towards the future. Students today have their entire lives ahead of them, and will be sure to change their minds many times about their dreams and goals – whether they want to be the President of the United States, the president of their own business, a chef, an artist, a community leader, a teacher or whatever it may be that lights them up inside.

Mentoring a student can provide guidance and direction, and introduce opportunities that those students might not otherwise become aware of. At icouldbe.org, students can choose their own mentors – mentors who have professions in the career that they are interested in pursuing. This caring support is invaluable to a young person as they explore their potential career passions.

All students deserve and need us to guide them through their high school years.  If we don’t and we allow even one student to fail, who will that student be?  They might very well be the next poet laureate, inventor, entrepreneur, or maybe the doctor who will cure cancer.  On this President’s Day let’s celebrate the potential for all of our young people.  Mentoring through icouldbe.org only requires a commitment of one hour per week – but the effects of that commitment are life lasting. This President’s Day, celebrate by becoming a mentor, or telling your local school about the program. Imagine saying that you mentored a president!

“I didn’t want to go to college, my grades were good, but no one from my family had been – my mentor helped me apply and get into a college, and I got a scholarship…I would never be here if it wasn’t for him.”- From a participating icouldbe student

Ever wondered how it works?

You’re probably familiar enough with icouldbe.org to know that it is an online, curriculum-based mentoring program. There is a little more to it, though – which is why we thought we’d explain how mentoring works at icouldbe.

First, icouldbe partners with a school in order to integrate their mentoring program into the school’s existing curriculum. Students are then able to choose their mentors (mentors from all over the country) depending on their interests and occupations.

Mentees and mentors are expected to interact and participate at least one hour per week, though many commit more time than that, and research has shown that the relationship should last one year in order to be successful. Both mentees and mentors are expected to spend 80% of their time in the activities outlined by the curriculum, and 20% spent on the community discussion boards and email communication.

The curriculum that students must participate in carries several units. Units each consist of three to four activities to complete. The units cover topics such as college and career preparation, as well as money management.

There is a fully integrated reporting system within icouldbe.org. This allows faculty at participating schools to review data on their students’ interactions with mentors, curriculum work, and the progress being made. Mentors are also able to access this reporting feature, in order to communicate with teachers and administrative staff regarding the quality of their mentee’s work.

Imagine a Facebook–like technology solution that surrounds each student with five caring adults – three mentors, their classroom teacher and an icouldbe.org staff person – all of whom are focused on that individual student’s interests, goals and passions for their futures.  There are very few programs that can bring bank executives, artists and all types of professionals right into classrooms every week of every school year.  And, icouldbe.org is a scalable solution that is ready to grow and serve any student in need.

The icouldbe mentoring program is able to help students get the attention and dedication they deserve to learn, grow and plan out their future. Any questions about how it works? Feel free to leave a message here, or check out www.icouldbe.org for more info.

Setting the facts straight…

We’ve been busy telling you about the latest icouldbe news and accomplishments… maybe we should backtrack a little and give you some basic statistics about the program.

  • Currently, icouldbe is working with over 1800 middle and high school students.
  • We have programs in 9 different states, as well as Washington D.C. – these include New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, California, Colorado, Utah, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Texas.
  • We are partnered with 44 different schools, academies and/or youth organizations within 35 cities.
  • Icouldbe’s mentors have volunteered more than 3,500 hours providing students with guidance and support during this academic year. Mentees have logged over 8,000 hours utilizing the site’s college and career exploration resources and communication tools.

This brings us to a total of over 11,000 hours that users have spent communicating with one another – in the first half of the school year!