Tag Archives: teacher

National Mentoring Month Spotlight: Bronx Teacher Shares icouldbe Experience

MS 254 in Bronx, New York would like to thank icouldbe for allowing our students to be a part of such an enlightening program for a second year. We have evolved from 30 students participating last year to 175 students participating this year. icouldbe provides an opportunity to empower students to prepare for the challenges of tomorrow. There is not one fix for any student when trying to develop a connection between school and the future accomplishments within an adolescent mind, but icouldbe is the right fit for many students in our program. The students are developing skills that will allow them to make informed decisions about the path their future will take.

Students are reading, writing, and thinking about real life desires and possibilities they used to only associated with others. With the help of icouldbe, the students can now place themselves in those roles. Mentors are explaining how they use math and science as well as language and social studies in their daily lives and in their careers. Based on the conversations students are having with their mentors, the students are developing new ideas.

The mentors are phenomenal! If you are a mentor reading my blog post, let me thank you for giving your time and care to your mentees. I appreciate your answering their posts with feedback that helps them formulate goals that are attainable and make a connection between academics and the student’s chosen path. I was really impressed when one of our mentors reached out with concern about their mentee who had lost interest in posting. I was able to locate the student and discuss her mentor’s concern. Before, she felt like it was just a school commitment, but now she knows how much her mentor truly cares about her, her wellbeing, and her success.

icouldbe helps our students think about their dream and see their dream in order to live it.

-Ms. Frazier, MS 254 in Bronx, New York

Ms. Frazier is an educator from Conway, South Carolina currently teaching in the Bronx. She has 24 years of experience and is a life-long learner.Image


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

Jerry Steward, Teacher, Mentor, and icouldbe.org’s Senior Program Manager, West Coast

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!