Displaying items by tag: School environment

Thursday, 18 March 2021 15:24

Eye to Eye

Evidence Rating: Promising - One study 

Date: This profile was posted on February 4, 2021


Program Summary

This is a group-mentoring afterschool program in which elementary and middle school students with the diagnosis of a learning disability (LD) or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) meet with high school or college student mentors who also have LD/ADHD, to discuss and address their strengths and challenges. The program is rated Promising. The program was shown to be associated with statistically significant decreases in depression and increases in self-esteem over the program period. This program’s rating is based on evidence that includes either 1) one study conducted in multiple sites; or 2) two or three studies, each conducted at a different site. Learn about how we make the multisite determination.

You can read the full review on CrimeSolutions.gov.

 
  • Description of Resource:

    This resource identifies recommended practices that support young people with autism as they transition from school to college. This guide draws from the lessons learned at the Finished at School (FaS) Programme and provides examples, resources, and information from the FaS Programme that be adapted and replicated by other programs, colleges, and schools.

    Goals:

    To support colleges to further develop effective practices to support young people with autism (as well as those with learning difficulties and/or disabilities) to achieve their potential and make a successful transition from school to college into adult life.

    Target Population/Eligibility of Target Sites:

    Programs serving youth with autism, autism-spectrum challenges, learning difficulties and/or disabilities.

    Corresponding Elements of Effective Practice:

    All

    Key Personnel:

    N/A

    Additional Information:

    The guide draws from the lessons learned from the Finished at School (FaS) Programme. The FaS Programme was a two year project funded by the United Kingdom Department for Education led by Ambitious about Autism in partnership with the Association of Colleges and the National Association for Special Education Needs.

  • Resource Name:

    Finished at School: Supporting Young People With Autism to Move From School to College

    Publisher/Source:

    Ambitious about Autism, The Pears National Centre for Autism Education, London

    Author:

    Alison O’Brien, Yola Jacobsen, Ian Adam Bellamy

    Date of Publication:

    March 2015

    Resource Type:

    Program Management Resources








  • Evaluation Methodology:

    Resource has not been evaluated for effectiveness

    Evaluation Outcomes:

    Resource has not been evaluated for effectiveness

    Evaluation Validity:

    Resource has not been evaluated for effectiveness












  • Accessing and Using this Resource:

    This resource can be accessed freely online: https://bit.ly/2X4YnES















  • References:

    Evidence Base: N/A

    Additional References: N/A

























Finished at School

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Click here to download a PDF of this Resource.

 
  • Description of Resource:

    This fact sheet, created by the U.S. Department of Education’s Mentoring Resource Center, offers recommendations to mentoring practitioners and mentors themselves for engaging mentees in school-based mentoring programs, and suggests strategies for maintaining mentoring relationships during mentees’ transition from elementary to middle school. It highlights developmental considerations for early adolescence that can inform mentoring approaches as well as different options for program models that support students during this transition. Finally, this resource offers specific tips and tools for mentors of students in this age range, and a list of additional resources for mentors and program staff.

    Goals:

    To educate mentors and program staff about the needs of students as they transition from elementary to middle school.

    Target Population/Eligibility of Target Sites:

    School-based mentoring program staff and/or mentors, serving students transitioning from elementary to middle school.

    Corresponding Elements of Effective Practice:

    Training, Monitoring and Support, Closure

    Key Personnel:

    N/A

    Additional Information:

    Additional research on school-based mentoring has been published since the development of this resource. Three large scale studies of the effectiveness of school-based mentoring programs are reviewed and summarized by Wheeler et al. (2010). Please also note that several of the web links included in the fact sheet are no longer active.

    This publication was funded by the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools at the U.S. Department of Education under contract number ED04CO0091/0001 with EMT Associates, Inc. The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Department of Education, nor does the mention of trade names, commercial products or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. government. See page 10 of this resource for more information about its publication.

  • Resource Name:

    Making the Transition to Middle School Fact Sheet

    Publisher/Source:

    U.S. Department of Education Mentoring Resource Center

    Author:

    U.S. Department of Education Mentoring Resource Center

    Date of Publication:

    September 2008

    Resource Type:

    Program Management Resources








  • Evaluation Methodology:

    Resource has not been evaluated for effectiveness

    Evaluation Outcomes:

    Resource has not been evaluated for effectiveness

    Evaluation Validity:

    Resource has not been evaluated for effectiveness












  • Accessing and Using this Resource:

    This resource can be accessed freely online in PDF form, at: http://educationnorthwest.org/sites/default/files/making-the-transition-to-middle-school.pdf

















  • References:

    Evidence Base: N/A

    Additional References: N/A



























Making the Transition to Middle School

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Click here to download a PDF of this Resource.

MobiusConnecting Youth Mentoring (CY) is one of the largest school-based mentoring programs in Vermont, serving 151 students in middle school between grades five and eight across their Northwestern Vermont district. This mentoring program began as a pilot in 1998 and expanded across the district in 2003. Program participants spend quality time with their mentors for one hour a week on school grounds, for a minimum of one year. Through the OJJDP National Mentoring Resource Center (NMRC), CY was able to expand their mentoring programs into the community to serve students at the high school level for the first time. Inspired by the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring™ benchmarks, which indicate the value of mentoring students throughout adolescence, CY sought to enhance their current model, which concluded when students finish middle school, to offer mentoring during high school as well.

MobiusMobius, Vermont’s Mentoring Partnership, provided no-cost technical assistance (TA) to CY through the NMRC. Mobius advised and supported CY in bringing together a group of stakeholders to consider options for the program’s expansion. This “exploration team” assessed program fit, sustainability, and the location of the schools and community to inform CY’s adoption of a community-based model serving high school students. As a result of these efforts, CY designed a pilot with their previous middle school mentees. As schools were chosen for the expansion, CY successfully launched their pilot with 11 mentor-mentee matches in August of 2016.

CY’s middle school program is nationally recognized, but CY lacked experience in managing a community-based program, therefore facing challenges with this next phase in their development. As their TA Provider, Chad Butt, Executive Director of Mobius, worked closely with the CY’s exploration team as well as CY’s Director and staff. As an organization, CY takes pride in providing a high quality program, focused on creating strong relationships, one match at a time. Chad supported their efforts to expand their program by making connections, sharing best practices and providing unique insight that only an experienced provider working with myriad of programs could. The relationship between a TA Provider and a mentoring program like CY is a partnership, and Chad was skilled at identifying the amount support CY needed at any given time.

This TA relationship also aligned with Mobius’ mission to promote mentoring for youth in schools from kindergarten through twelfth grade. Mobius is an independent nonprofit that has worked to develop a culture of mentoring throughout Vermont by supporting mentoring programs across the state. Chad was impressed to learn how CY’s mentoring programs for middle school students developed such a positive culture and created a ‘cool’ environment that got students excited to meet with their mentors. “CY was prepared, and did an amazing job of gathering all the stakeholders and getting buy-in to figure out how to expand their mentoring programs into high school,” said Chad, who is excited to see this organization accomplish their goal.

Christine Lloyd-Newberry, CY’s Director, said of her TA experience: “The TA was priceless in this process of expanding our program to include a community-based high school program. There is no question in my mind that as a result of the TA received, our team was able to create a program that will sustain long into the future, like our middle school program has.”

MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership (MENTOR) partners with the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) to deliver the National Mentoring Resource Center (NMRC) to the mentoring field. In addition to convening a Research Board which develops evidence-based reviews about mentoring topics, and offering a comprehensive mentoring resource center website, the NMRC provides mentoring programs nationwide with no-cost technical assistance to help them more deeply incorporate evidence-based practices into their programming. Once a mentoring program requests TA, their request is assigned to a local or regional TA provider within MENTOR's network of affiliates and providers. As in the example of CY, school and community-based mentoring programs alike may benefit from TA to help them establish and expand programs that meet quality standards as outlined in the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring™, improve operations, assess impact, or adapt their program to changing or emerging community needs.

Published in TA Spotlights
 
  • Description of Resource:

    This training guide provides 12 ready-to-use training activities that are designed to enhance mentors’ skills and support their relationships with youth over time. Each activity lasts 45 minutes to an hour and comes with facilitator notes and handouts. Topics covered include setting boundaries with youth, exploring culture and identity, helping with homework, effective communication, and working with the mentee’s family. Some programs may choose to adapt several of these activities for pre-service mentor training.

    Goals:

    This resource is intended to build mentors’ skills and give them timely advice and strategies as they encounter challenging circumstances over the course of their mentoring relationship.

    Target Population/Eligibility of Target Sites:

    This resource was originally developed for use in school-based programs but much of the content will be applicable to a range of other types of programs.

    Corresponding Elements of Effective Practice:

    Training

    Key Personnel:

    None.

    Additional Information:

    None.

  • Resource Name:

    Ongoing Training for Mentors: Twelve Interactive Sessions for U.S. Department of Education Mentoring Programs

    Publisher/Source:

    Mentoring Resource Center (a joint project of EMT and Education Northwest)

    Author:

    Amy Cannata, with contributions by Elsy Arevalo, Patti MacRae, Christian Rummell, Maija Ryan, Judy Strother Taylor, and Johnna Timmes

    Date of Publication:

    2006

    Resource Type:

    Mentor Training Resources








  • Evaluation Methodology:

    Resource has not been evaluated for effectiveness

    Evaluation Outcomes:

    Resource has not been evaluated for effectiveness

    Evaluation Validity:

    Resource has not been evaluated for effectiveness












  • Accessing and Using this Resource:

    This resource is available for download free of charge from the Education Northwest website at:
    http://educationnorthwest.org/sites/default/files/resources/
    Ongoing%20Training%20for%20Mentors.pdf














  • References:

    None.

























Ongoing Training

Access this Resource

Click here to download a PDF of this Resource.

Tuesday, 13 November 2018 13:35

Pathways to Education

*Note: The National Mentoring Resource Center makes these “Insights for Mentoring Practitioners” available for each program or practice reviewed by the National Mentoring Resource Center Research Board. Their purpose is to give mentoring professionals additional information and understanding that can help them apply reviews to their own programs. You can read the full review on the National Mentoring Resource Center website.


In considering the key takeaways from the research on this program that other mentoring programs can apply to their work, it’s useful to reflect on the features and practices that might have influenced its rating as “Promising” (that is, a program that shows some evidence that it achieves justice-related goals when implemented with fidelity).

1. When are the active ingredients of a "mentoring program" potentially not mentoring?

One of the first things one notices about the Pathways model is that there are four main pillars to the program, “counseling, academic, social, and financial”—with mentoring being part of the social category. But the mentoring that happens within that seems inadequately described in the study cited in the formal review. Mentoring is really only offered to 9th and 10th graders in the program and is described as being in the form of group activities, which includes “attending sporting events, theater, participating in creative arts, cooking, bowling, community recycling projects, and martial arts” as well as cognitive behavioral workshops. Mentees pick two of these types of activities to do a month. It is unclear from the description whether these groups are consistent over time or shuffle members continually, which may be an issue for a group mentoring approach since one of the hypothesized mechanisms of change in group mentoring programs is the bond and cohesive relationships formed by the group members. This would clearly be absent in this program if youth shift activities, even if they may get “mentoring” from the adults leading each one.

There are also other prominent “caring adult” roles in the program—most notably, there is the Student-Parent Support Worker (SPSW), who is tasked with forming a close relationship with the youth and his/her family and serving as a primary coordinator of all their services and supports. This person is clearly in a role where they could be forming mentoring-like relationships with youth in the program, but the study does not report much information on the level of closeness between these adults and youth, nor does it mention the amount or frequency of time they tend to spend with a typical youth (although with caseloads of up to 50 youth/families, it may not be all that much).

Youth are also assigned to tutors and other adults who work with them on a variety of academic subjects and other activities, including more focused college prep work later in their high school years.

So, that’s a lot of caring adults and an unclear description of the mentoring being provided by any of them. Perhaps most confusingly, “Big Brothers/Big Sisters” is listed in the evaluation report1 as one of the group mentoring activities that youth can sign up for, but it is unclear if that means they are enrolled in a local Big Brothers Big Sisters agency or if they are doing that in addition to their group mentoring experiences.

None of this is to say that all these activities and this surplus of adults taking an active role is a bad thing or that they don't constitute meaningful and impactful mentoring. It’s just that the evaluation doesn’t differentiate the contribution that each of these pillars makes in any testable way. We don’t know if that “social” pillar of the program is driving much of the change, none of it, or somewhere in between. We have noted before in other reviews of multi-component mentoring efforts that the role of a mentor can sometimes be ambiguous in these models with lots of moving parts and that evaluations can struggle to identify what contribution, if any, the mentoring being provided makes to the program’s overall impact. That seems to be the case here where clearly Pathways youth are receiving mentoring, perhaps lots of it, but the details in how that works in synergy with the other program components still remains a bit of a mystery. 

2. The value of some financial incentives.

Another of those “pillars” that gets discussed in the evaluation report is the financial incentives of the program. This takes two forms, each of which may be rather critical in the outcomes assessed in the evaluation. First, the program incentivizes participation in the program by providing youth with free bus tickets/passes that allow them to not only come to the program, but also get themselves to school in an effort to combat chronic absenteeism. The provision of free transportation options has been suggested in other research to be a critical component of combating missed school days. The evaluation here suggests that these passes were a major driver of youth participation in the program, perhaps accentuated by the fact that many students did not live near where the services were offered. Programs that need to ensure that youth can overcome transportation challenges to both be in the program and be at school may want to consider providing this type of practical support. Yes, it costs money, but it’s hard to keep up in school or benefit from extra supports like the one offered in this program if one is not there.

The other financial incentive also speaks to both a reason to invest youth and family time in the program and one of the main outcomes: postsecondary enrollment. The program sets aside $1,000 (Canadian) for each year of participation that youth can use once they graduate toward postsecondary tuition costs. Although that’s not a huge sum of money by today’s standards of tuition, one can imagine that it makes the dream of college just a bit more realistic and affordable for low-income families. However, the role that this incentive played in the post-secondary enrollment findings is not explored in the evaluation. It is unclear whether this was the driving force for getting youth to apply to college or whether the improved grades and social skills developed by the other components were the agents of change or whether perhaps it was a combination of both.

It is interesting to consider, however, that when working with very low-income youth and families, sometimes simply purchasing practical items like a bus pass, or providing some much needed tuition assistance, may really spur both deeper program engagement and impact the eventual attainment of prized outcomes.

3. Honesty about subgroup findings is a good thing.

Just about any evaluation of a mentoring program is likely to find, if it looks, that it is working better for some youth than others. Here, the evaluation of the Pathways for Education program concludes that the program worked more effectively for youth with “with higher initial measured abilities,” as indexed by youth already doing fairly well in school and at home when entering the program. The evaluators freely admit that, based on their findings, the program “does not help all students equally” and note that it appears youth need to have some moderately successful academic foundation and social capital to build on. This is a somewhat refreshing admission in the world of program evaluations.

It does, however, beg questions about use of resources. Pathways is a program that prides itself on being available to every single eligible child living in a low-income area. It takes them all. Which, although admirable, means that resource are likely spread thin and that some youth are unable to get the perhaps more intensive support they need. The evaluators estimate program costs in the report at about $5,000 (Canadian) per student per year. That’s about $25,000 for a five year participant. That seems like a large investment when the results of the evaluation indicate that the program seemed to work best for youth who had some academic strengths to build on. There is a large philosophical debate to be had about whether a program should do the greatest good for the greatest number, knowing that some youth won’t benefit because they need more support than what can be offered, or whether it should focus scarce resources on those who need it most. We won’t attempt to answer the question of whether Pathways is distributing resources optimally here. Yet, it was interesting to see the evaluation talk openly about who the program appears to resonate with best while simultaneously touting an approach that tries to serve every child. The good news is that the program has enough evidence of effectiveness enough to get rated as “promising” in this rigorous review. One wonders if they could move one step up to “effective” in their evaluation evidence with just a bit more specified distribution of resources. This is a conversation every program should have when thinking about who is best served by the way things are and by the resources at hand.


For more information on research-informed program practices and tools for implementation, be sure to consult the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring™ and the "Resources for Mentoring Programs" section of the National Mentoring Resource Center site.


1 Oreopoulus, Philip, Robert S. Brown, & Adam M. Lavecchia. 2017. “Pathways to Education: An Integrated Approach to Helping At-risk High School Students.” The Journal of Political Economy, 124(4): 947-984. https://doi.org/10.1086/692713

Tuesday, 13 November 2018 13:40

Pathways to Education

Evidence Rating: Promising - One study

Date: This profile was posted on November 05, 2018


Program Summary

This is a multicomponent program that aims to improve academic outcomes for high school students from low socioeconomic backgrounds primarily through a relationship with a student-parent support worker. This program is rated Promising. Youth eligible for the program were more likely to have graduated from high school and enrolled in postsecondary education within 5 years after starting high school, compared with youth in the comparison group. This difference was statistically significant.

You can read the full review on CrimeSolutions.gov.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015 14:54

Peer Group Connection

*Note: The National Mentoring Resource Center makes these “Insights for Mentoring Practitioners” available for each program or practice reviewed by the National Mentoring Resource Center Research Board. Their purpose is to give mentoring professionals additional information and understanding that can help them apply reviews to their own programs. You can read the full review on the Crime Solutions website.


In considering the key takeaways from the research on this program that other mentoring programs can apply to their work, it’s useful to reflect on the features and practices that might have influenced its rating, as well as some of the more interesting aspects of the program’s design.

Great target age, but also a missed opportunity?

Peer Group Connection (PGC) is a wonderfully targeted program, in spite of the fact that it is designed to be used with an entire class (or at least a very wide swath of students). Many school-based mentoring programs target students at key transition pointsfor example, the previously reviewed School-Based Mentoring Program for At-Risk Middle School Youth works specifically with youth right after the transition to middle school, once issues around attendance or grades appear. Others, like PGC seek to head off troubles before they even begin, working with an entire incoming class of ninth graders to orient them to the high school and teach them skills that will help them thrive in the new environment. In fact, the “wide swath” approach is part of the design, with the near peer and group meeting design intended to facilitate connections both among diverse classmates and with upperclassmen. The varying levels of risk of dropping out among the participants very possibly serve as a strength, allowing riskier students to connect with other students who can be supportive and lift them up.

According to the designers of the program note, the path to dropping out begins for most students in 9th grade, as the transition to the new environment and the challenges of the curriculum lead to often widespread disengagement from the school and peers. PGC should be commended for trying to influence this particularly critical period of time.

But one also wonders if there is a bit of a missed opportunity, at least in how results were reported in the evaluations that served as the basis for the review of the program’s evidence base for CrimeSolutions.gov. In particular, the impact of program participation on the juniors and seniors who served as peer mentors/leaders was not reported much, if at all, in thse studies. These older students participated in a year-long leadership course, designed to teach them how to implement the program and what to teach the incoming freshmen. They also got a nice education in some academic and interpersonal skills, got to work closely with faculty advisors, and earned course credit. It would be nice to see more consideration of the impact of this experience on the peer leaders. One can imagine that this experience developed their interpersonal skills, built their confidence and competence in a number of areas, and prepared them for both postsecondary education and career experiences. This “dual benefit” of peer mentoring for older and younger students is one of the major draws of peer-led group mentoring like this. It is surprising that the impact on older students was not woven into the research design more. But given the quality of the PGC implementation, it seems likely that those older youth also benefitted from the program.

A nice example of a multi-layered program design

One of the aspects of PGC that becomes immediately clear is the careful thought that went into the program design. Not only is the program well-targeted, but it draws upon several areas of relevant research with a structure that allowed for strong implementation. The program builds on research that supports attention to Social Emotional Learning in school-based programs and provides a layered structure in doing so that allows for support at all levels. The peer leaders work as pairs with groups of up to 12 freshmendoing this as a pair means that they have some support from a peer in delivering the curriculum and leading the group sessions. The pair also has support from above in the form of a faculty advisor, each of whom goes through an 11-day training regimen to fill that role! They work closely with the peer leaders to plan and implement the program. This level of support for peer mentors nicely addresses one of the major concerns about peer mentoring: that the quality of the mentoring can suffer at peer mentors struggle to problem-solve, lead conversations, and deliver curriculum because they are, well, students themselves. These three levels of participants were then further supported by a stakeholder group of principals, other school administrators, and additional faculty, likely facilitating a deeper level of whole-school buy-in and access to resources and materials than is typical of that enjoyed by many mentoring programs operated within schools. Providing support and buy-in at every level seems likely to help explain why the program had strong implementation and advisors and peer leaders were both rated effective by the researchers (87% and 89% respectfully).

Activities are what turn theory into results

As noted above, the program was designed a series of meetings between freshmen and peer leaders that brought Social Emotional Learning (SEL) to life. The program developed a very nice curriculum and set of activities that addressed the academic, social, and emotional aspects of the student experience. A Family Night held mid-year also brought other caring adults and siblings into the program experience. But it was the activities that emphasized critical thinking, goal setting, decision-making, time management, teamwork, and other “soft skills” that really brought the SEL framework to life. The program should be commended for so intentionally selecting and delivering these activities, as the skills targeted have well-established connections to a broad array of positive school and life outcomes.

Outside help… helps.

Of course, in the case of PGC, it helps to have a team of talented researchers helping with program design, implementation, and even things like support of stakeholders and faculty advisors. And while most programs won’t have this kind of access to researcher or subject matter expertise, there are opportunities to get help of this nature, especially with initial program design. Programs may want to consider tapping into the technical assistance offered by the NMRC or other entities. Local colleges and universities can also be good places to look for talented help in designing services or shoring up program weaknesses. No program should go it alone when it comes to making or improving its theory of change and accompanying services.

While PGC had an overall rating of “no effects” in the Crime Solutions framework, it’s important to note that the program did have a statistically significant impact on the dropout rates of male students (a traditionally riskier group for dropping out). This may be an example of a whole population design being needed to reach a specific sub group of participants. It remains unclear if the program would have had this impact on male students if participants had only been male students.

We look forward to more research about this well-designed program and other peer mentoring efforts should keep an eye on this approach and what we can learn from the PGC program.


For more information on research-informed program practices and tools for implementation, be sure to consult the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring™ and the "Resources for Mentoring Programssection of the National Mentoring Resource Center site.

Friday, 19 August 2016 10:16

Peer Group Connection (PGC) Program

Evidence Rating: No Effects - One study

Date: This profile was posted on April 27, 2015


Program Summary

A high school transition program that targets 9th-grade students in urban high schools who are at risk of dropping out. The goal is to improve high school graduation rates among participating youths by having junior and senior high school students serve as peer mentors. This program is rated No Effects since the program did not improve students’ high school graduation rates overall. However, a significant positive effect on the graduation rate among male students only was detected.

You can read the full review on CrimeSolutions.gov.

Wednesday, 12 September 2018 14:12

Peraj Mentoring Program

Evidence Rating: Promising - One study

Date: This profile was posted on September 12, 2018


Program Summary

This is a mentoring program for fifth- and sixth-grade public school students who are at increased risk for underachievement and antisocial behaviors. The program’s goals are to strengthen a students’ self-esteem, social skills, motivation, and study skills using college student mentors. This program was rated as Promising. Students who participated in the program had a statistically significantly lower risk of dropping out of school, compared with students in the comparison group.

You can read the full review on CrimeSolutions.gov.

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