09 Oct


Quick. Name your favorite teacher from your own student days.

Do remember your teacher’s name?
What grade level were you, when that teacher made an impact on your life?
Can you recall whether that teacher taught history or maybe PE?

It probably took a moment to flash back to the exact time, place and even a cherished memory of you and that teacher. At Summit Public Schools, we believe that after family, teachers are often the most important adult role model in a child’s life. Setting goals, developing good study habits, problem solving – even learning to work with others. Many of these skills are mastered during the school day.

At Summit Public Schools, we know the value of positive adult role models on student development. One of the distinguishing features of Summit’s approach to learning and teaching is the value we place on mentorship. So much so that we build mentorship into our curriculum and set aside time during each school day for mentorship.

“Each student is given a mentor cohort that they meet with on a weekly basis,” said Jacob Leon, an 11th grade mentor and AP Language and Composition teacher at Summit Olympus. “This connection helps students make friendships early in the year. It also provides students with an adult that they can trust and confide in. As a mentor, I can advocate for my students to other teachers and help guide them through academic and social struggles.”

At Summit Olympus, mentors and mentees are heading into their third year of support, listening, goal-setting, and accountability. Both students and our faculty at this Tacoma public charter high school learn and grow from this relationship. Jacob said that he loves working with students and that it has been amazing to watch them grow from teens to young adults. He’s also learned about what it means to be an effective mentor to his students.

“My advice to new mentors would be make sure you check in with each mentee equally,”Jacob said. “It’s really easy to focus your time on the student that is behind, but the beauty of mentorship is that you can push the students that are on track to be better versions of themselves. Also use mentor time to get to know your mentees on a personal level, their likes, their dislikes, their passions, their fears. That information can then be shared across your school with teachers and administrators to make the student feel connected to the school.”

Want to see mentorship at a Summit school in action? Check out this great video of Aukeem Ballard, who grew up in Tacoma, Wash. Aukeem is a member of the faculty at Summit Prep and was called a changemaker by Edutopia for his work helping students succeed in school and life.

Who was your favorite teacher? Got a favorite memory or life lesson?
Tell us in the comments below


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