Mentoring at schools, has been an increasingly popular choice for bringing caring adult and older peer relationships to the lives of more youth for several decades. The school setting is often seen as an opportunity for reaching larger numbers of youth in a controlled setting that also allows access to educational, recreational, and developmental supports that may enhance the mentoring relationship. School-based programs run the gamut of structures and goals:

  • We in one-to-one, group, or team formats, allowing for flexibility in activity offerings based on the number of available mentors and the resources available at the site. They can even involve the uses of older students as mentors in a “near peer” format.
  • We emphasize aims of facilitating academic gains or improvements in school connectedness and attendance by participating youth⎯although it’s worth noting that many school-based mentoring programs emphasize non-academic goals, such as personal growth, artistic expression, future planning and goal setting, and social-emotional development.

Regardless of the structure, staffing, and goals of the program, mentoring programs in schools have shown to be a cost-efficient way of increasing the positive relationships students have in their lives, while also having the potential to boost factors that can lead to educational success, such as connectedness to the school environment and peers, improved relationships with teachers and staff, improved feelings of academic competence, and greater access and use of other supports, such as tutoring, credit tracking, counseling, and postsecondary planning.