Mentoring at the Middle School

A new program aims to motivate, inspire and teach middle school students good study habits, life skills, and more. 

Mentoring at the Middle School

“What will the old person inside of you think about the choices you are making today?” 

“Who are the people on your A-Team?”

“What are your SMART Goals for the future?”

Every Monday at the Middle School, a group of students gathers to reflect and discuss topics like these, as they participate in a mentoring program called M.I.T.: Motivate, Inspire, Teach

The sessions are created and led by Keith Langford, the District’s Family and Community Engagement Coordinator, four middle school teachers, and five community mentors of various professional backgrounds. The Shaker Schools Foundation covered the cost of materials and the speakers’ fees. 

The sessions are designed to encourage positive thinking, self-reflection, character building, organization, and social skills. Over the course of twelve weeks, Langford saw a big increase in participation among the students, many of whom had previously felt disengaged at school. 

“On the days we held these sessions, attendance was way up, tardiness went down, and students were more focused and prepared,” says Langford. He also noticed they became much more willing to open up and share their life stories, particularly as the community mentors shared their own experiences. 

“One of our mentors shared about the number of times he started businesses, and how many times he failed. He kept trying and learned something new each time until he finally succeeded,” says Langford. “That led to a great discussion about the power of failure.”

In a survey about the program, students overwhelmingly felt the program had helped them prepare for the future by teaching important life skills. They’ll have a chance to demonstrate what they learned at the end of the program when each student will present five slides representing their biggest take-aways. 

“They’re not the only ones who grew from this,” says Langford. “The teachers and I would all like to do this program again because we gained just as much from it as they did.”