Tag Archives: high school

And, The Teacher of the Year award goes to…

We’re wrapping up the 2011-2012 school year here at icouldbe.org, and there are a few mentors, students and teachers who stand out!

We’re pleased to announce that Dana Braun is the recipient of our Teacher of the Year award!

Dana is a teacher from Westminster High School in California, and has been teaching in various capacities since 1989. Dana taught Biology and Physiology to sophomores and seniors for 15 years at Westminster, a California Partnership Academy (CPA). When the founding CPA coordinator retired, Dana took over her position to lead the Academy.

In 2007, Dana met the icouldbe staff at the annual CPA Conference where icouldbe delivers a workshop every year.  Dana has been bringing icouldbe.org to her Juniors ever since.

This year, Dana motivated her students each week to log on, communicate with their mentors, work on the curricular units focused on college and career prep, and receive valuable, personalized feedback from their mentors. The best reflection of Dana’s skills lies in her students’ outcomes: her current class has been chosen as one of the three Most Successful Classes of the 2011-2012 School Year. Here’s what Dana has to say about the icouldbe.org mentoring program:

  1. What role do you play with the students and mentors who work with the icouldbe.org program? I am a teacher as well as academy coordinator. The students are with me for one of their junior Career Technical Education classes, and the icouldbe.org program is delivered in my class.
  2. What makes a good icouldbe.org teacher?  I regularly monitor my students’ progress with their mentors on the curricular activities and I read over some of the conversations between mentors and mentees.  It’s critical that as a teacher I help facilitate good mentor and mentee interactions.
  3. Why do you think online mentoring is important for today’s youth? Online mentors give students access to someone who is out in the business world right now. Mentors can give students support and guidance during important career and college decisions. The great thing about online mentoring is that it is safe, and students can access the program at any hour, even if they are unable to work on the curriculum during the scheduled time period each week.
  4. Do any memories stand out to you this year from the students who worked with icouldbe.org mentors? I have several. I had a mentor that worked with a student who finished the entire 10 units in less than a semester. Another great memory was the excitement of one of my students who found a mentor who shared her interests in sports as a career. I also love when mentors are reassuring to students who express doubt about their skills. The vast majority of mentors are always able to find that personal,self-esteem building quality that can truly help my students gain the confidence they need to succeed.
  5. What do you hope for the future of your students? I hope they find their personal path, achieve to their potential, and reach their goals. In regards to icouldbe.org, I hope they long remember what they learned in the curriculum, the activities they completed and the guidance they received from their mentors.

Photo Credit: vistamommy on Flickr’s Creative Commons

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icouldbe.org STEM mentors will help students with science projects this year!

We’re very excited to announce a new partnership that will provide students working on science projects with dedicated online mentors in STEM fields!

In case you’re unaware, STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. There is a dire need in the U.S. for people to fill STEM careers; there are many science and technology job openings, but not enough people to recruit. A major place where this problem can be addressed is within our education system.

There is an amazing initiative happening in upstate New York called the Dr. Nelson Ying Tri Region Science & Engineering Fair (Ying TRSEF). The fair was created to allow students to explore their talents and challenge their minds in STEM fields. It’s available to students in grades 5-12 throughout 24 counties, which until 2006 had no regional access to the International Science and Engineer Fair.

This year, a group of these students will have the help of eMentors (provided by icouldbe.org!) during the creation of their science projects.

Ying TRSEF is engaging in a pilot program with icouldbe.org to provide students building their science projects with volunteer eMentors employed in STEM careers. These volunteers will mentor the students through the process of preparing for the fair on March 17 and 18. Using the icouldbe.org discussion boards, each mentor will help her mentee identify the science fair topic/question, make a plan to gather data to answer said question, understand ethical and safety procedures and analyze data and draw conclusions.

At the conclusion of the fair, mentors and mentees will continue the mentoring partnership by transitioning to the icouldbe.org curriculum. The mentors will then guide students through units that will help them identify future goals specific to post-secondary education and careers in various sectors.

We’re hopeful that this is just the beginning of a much bigger initiative to mentor students and create an interest in STEM careers. With mentors who already have vast experience and a passion for jobs in these fields, who better to pair with students to help them realize their capabilities and dreams?

Next month we’ll post an update from the science fair on March 17-18. We can’t wait to see what these kids create!

For more information on Ying TRSEF, visit www.yingtrsef.org.

Photo credits:
science lab counter. March 6, 2009 Meghan McDonald on Flickr.com Creative Commons

Aboriginal Students Embark on eMentoring Personal Quest

Here at icouldbe.org, we’re excited to watch one of our new mentoring partnerships unfold with the University of British Columbia (UBC). Funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, and through the use of our own online platform, Aboriginal students in British Columbia (BC) are being paired right now with online mentors!

The UBC Faculty of Medicine, UBC eHealth Strategy Office, and a handful of BC school districts and First Nations communities are working together to connect university students with young aboriginal students in the province.

Aboriginal youth are significantly underrepresented in post-secondary education, especially in fields of health science. This eMentoring program aims to increase representation by supporting young aboriginal students to develop mentoring relationships with university students currently pursuing careers in health. This online mentoring relationship gives these youth someone to turn to, ask questions of, and gain an understanding about a health-related school choices and potential career options. Mentors can support discussions related to future challenges and opportunities such as time management and exploring post-secondary opportunities as well as provide positive role modeling for Aboriginal youth. The program will target grades 6-12 to allowing students to consider their aspirations early and ensure that students will have the potential to pursue their academic and career plans as they graduate from high school.

Not only will all mentoring take place online, but the program also boasts some changes from icouldbe.org’s traditional curriculum to accommodate Aboriginal culture, beliefs and traditions. The adapted curriculum is called an eMentoring Personal Quest (pictured below) and is divided into nine units, starting with first impressions and online safety and finishing with the transition to post-secondary education. Along the way, mentors will help their mentees gain the necessary confidence and skills to pursue a degree after high school.

Program funding began in April 2010, the online platform went live this past September, and the project has been full speed ahead since November, already well on its way to surpass a goal to recruit 50 mentors and 100 mentees. We are so excited to have the opportunity to work in such a unique partnership and broaden our own knowledge of mentoring within different communities and cultures!

Mentor Spotlight: Carolyn R.

I am relishing this experience of getting to work with my three students. I have a lot of respect for them, and how much effort they put into the the curriculum.

Here is what I love about e-mentoring:

Getting to work as a mentor takes me back to my own years in high school, and it reminds me of all of the curiosity and hope that I had about fitting into the world. Right along with the idealism, I recall my own powerful feelings of uncertainty at that time in my life. What I would have given to have an adult friend validating the path I was on.  As a therapist, I often hear clients’ stories about a lost dream in their lives. How vulnerable our dreams are to any impressions of doubt, when we are first creating them and saying them out loud. And then, of course, how incredibly exciting it is to hear a supportive adult say, “Why not?”

I think icouldbe mentoring should be a standard part of the curriculum in all of our nation’s high schools. I am thrilled and proud to be a part of the program.

Mentor Spotlight: Sam C.

When I was an engineering program manager in the aerospace industry, one of my most enjoyable activities was working with just degreed young engineers. Guiding them through the processes of what engineers really do, letting them, with guidance, take on and successfully complete a project provided me with great rewards.  I was even able to help a few win their Professional Engineer (PE) status. When I retired I wanted to teach motivated high school seniors advanced mathematics to hopefully guide them into a STEM career.  That turned out to be something that couldn’t be done for a number of reasons.

Embedded in the above is why I enjoy working with icouldbe.org students. It is my hope that by providing guidance and encouragement to those  young people, some of them will choose the route I followed in my professional life.  There is a tremendous need for young, bright military officers and others schooled in STEM courses and ideas.  It appears that some I’ve worked with have a leaning to go in that direction, that is rewarding. This great country provided the framework within which someone like me of humble beginnings through commitment could achieve whatever they set out to do. Working with young people like those in icouldbe is one way I have of giving back. Finally, just working with young people who want to better their lives to make a greater contribution to society in the future is a significant accomplishment.

Mentor Spotlight: Sandy C.

Hi, my name is Sandi and I’m an excited new mentor with icouldbe.org!  While I’ve only been a mentor for one semester so far, I know there are many more semesters ahead given how much I’ve already gained from the experience.

I am working with three mentees who all have very different personalities and unique ways of approaching their assignments.  The one thing that they all have in common is a determination to be the best they can be.  While getting to know my mentees, and as they get to know me, I discovered that we have something in common. I, like they, came from at-risk neighborhoods and schools, but had a great family, friend and teacher support system to tap into and discover that I had as great a potential to succeed as anyone else.  I am hoping my experiences and “rear view mirror” perspective will be as useful to my mentees as my own mentors’ caring and personal experiences were to my success.

Having worked in a corporate enviornment now for three decades and always deferring mentoring because I never seemed able to find the time, I am thrilled that e- mentoring is not only a possibility but also a great way to connect with students.  In the short time I have been mentoring, it’s obvious that although my mentees and I have never met in person, we are getting to know each other and building relationships that are as rich as if we were sitting across a table from each other.