Jerry Steward is a mentor to five students; but that’s really only the beginning of her work with icouldbe.org.
Jerry lives in Sacramento, California, where she taught high school students for thirteen years after a long career in the corporate world. After retiring from teaching, Jerry joined the staff at icouldbe.org as the Senior Program Manager, West Coast. She is responsible for all of our programs with the California Partnership Academies that stretch across the entire state. Over 1,000 students, and their teachers and mentors are guided and managed by Jerry and her experiences as a teacher and mentor provide her with an exceptional background to serve all of her constituents well.
In addition to teaching classes on the topics of business management, international business, computer repair and entrepreneurship, Jerry used the icouldbe.org program in her classroom for years. She worked directly with students who were mentees in the icouldbe.org program, and found that the curriculum fit right in with her business and technology-focused classes.
Jerry has seen students interact with the icouldbe.org program from all different vantage points, and she’s been able to observe firsthand why it really works for students:
- Students can progress at their own pace. “Many students completed their curriculum work at home, even posting on message boards in the evenings. They were able to work at their own pace, and that’s how I could tell they really enjoyed it.”
- California Partnership Academies (CPAs) in low socio-economic areas sometimes see as many as 50% at-risk students. Many times, these students are in need of positive, productive role models in their life – mentors in the icouldbe.org program can fill this role.
- The interaction students have with their mentors teaches them effective ways to communicate. Within the curriculum, filters don’t allow for inappropriate language, and students are able to work on spelling, grammar and a more professional level of communication.
- Once students work with one mentor, Jerry found that “they don’t want to switch to a different mentor. Students will participate in the icouldbe program for three years (sophomore to senior year), and they want that same mentor each time. They form a real relationship with them.”
Today, Jerry is working on recruiting new mentors, and introducing schools to the icouldbe.org program and the benefits it can bring to their students. This year, she’s already helping six to eight new classrooms sign up for the program in California – totaling an additional 275 students on top of the 1,000 students already being served in California!
Do you have any questions about the program for Jerry? She’d be happy to respond!