Connecting district and school leaders with expert colleagues to support change
The Future Ready Mentoring Program
gives “quick wins” for individuals in need of additional experience or perspective as they face school improvement challenges
provides a critically needed support system for district and school leaders
helps mentees to grow and mature as a leader
broadens district and school leaders’ professional networks
increases the sharing and use of best-case practices that lead to improved educator experiences and teacher outcomes
All individuals thrive when connected to a professional learning network, including leaders. This has been shown in a variety of fields, including education, where it has become increasingly popular to foster educator professional learning networks. Unfortunately, district and school leaders often feel isolated in their work. At FRS, we listened to our network, got our heads together, and thought about potential solutions to this problem. Enter FRS mentoring!
FRS mentoring is designed to connect district and school leaders with expert colleagues who have successfully implemented modern practices that foster personal and authentic learning experiences for each student and educator. This program has a pool of mentors with deep expertise in one or more of the areas aligned with the Future Ready framework (e.g. curriculum, instruction and assessment, budget and resources and community partnerships) matching interested persons with a seasoned school or district leader, who will provide guidance and support around school improvement activities.
By fostering relationships, FRS mentoring aims to create a self-sustaining network of district and school leaders. Our hope is that having a mentor may help alleviate some of the struggles and feelings isolation by providing an important sounding board for your ideas, thoughts, and actions. We hope you will join us in creating a powerful professional learning community!
Frequently Asked Questions
Mentors (the experts) are connected to mentees (individuals looking for support) based on the mentor’s expertise and the mentee’s needs in a set of predetermined school improvement areas. Mentor provide this information when signing up to be a mentor and mentees provide this information when completing their account profile.
Mentors and mentee will be connected virtually through email and then will carry out a conversation around the request for help from there. Additional instructions will be included during the sign up and connection process.
A mentor-mentee experience may result in a single conversation or multiple touchpoints, it all depends on the needs of the mentee and availability of both the mentee and mentor!
After a mentor-mentee experience has been completed, a survey will be sent out to both to review aspects of the experience that went well and ones that could be improved.
The school improvement areas were determined using Future Ready’s preexisting framework and through a partnership with NCREST at Teacher’s College, Columbia University. A group of researchers outlined key components of school improvement which were then aligned to the Future Ready gears. To learn more about the Future Ready framework and the school improvement areas, please check out these links: https://futureready.org/ourwork/future-ready-frameworks/ and https://futureready.org/ourwork/implementation-guides/?highlight=ncrest.
The mentor program starts with you creating a Future Ready account with a unique username and password. Once you’ve done that you’ll receive an email confirmation and notifications to complete your profile. Part of that process will include providing information about the areas of school/district improvement that you’re looking to receive support.
Once you’ve completed this profile, you’ll be able to see mentors that match the areas you identified and search using additional criteria to find other mentors that best match you needs. From there you will have the option to connect with a mentor. Once connected you’ll begin corresponding either in person, via phone, or virtually, depending on location, availability, and preferences of the mentor and mentee.
Nope! The Future Ready Mentoring program is a free service. Our mentors are volunteering their time and talents to help you and others improve the outcomes for their students (and we are incredibly grateful for both their time and talents!).
All mentors are vetted through the application process. Once selected, they sign up for a hour long session where they are trained on the technical aspects of the Future Ready Mentoring program and receive baseline expectations/guidance on how to conduct themselves as mentors.
The mentor will…
- serve as an expert in their identified school improvement areas
- be responsive in scheduling times to talk and answering questions
- actively listen to the mentee
- exercise understanding and empathy
- be honest and forthright with their thoughts and feedback
- asks questions to the mentee to gain an understanding of the specific challenges that face the mentee
- offering guidance, strategies, and resources that have been helpful to the mentor in tackling similar issues
- encourage the mentee to think differently about situations and offering alternatives based on the mentor’s experience
Applications are accepted and reviewed on an ongoing basis by Future Ready team members. Apply using an application form on the Future Ready website (link).
The Future Ready Mentoring program is meant to result in quick wins on specific school improvement areas. In general, correspondence on these issues should last a few conversations. The number of conversations, however, is dependent on the needs of the mentor and mentee and will be based on the needs of the mentee and capacity/availability of both the mentor and mentee. One quick conversation may suffice in some circumstances, whereas a series of conversations may be necessary in others.
It is important to emphasize two additional points regarding this question.
- Part of the purpose of this program is to foster networks, so in some ways, we hope these conversations will lead to natural, ongoing networks that can be tapped beyond this specific issue.
- The mentors are volunteers NOT paid consultants. They should not take the place of a consultant and should not be expected to commit high levels of times outside of a few conversations where they provide outside perspective, guidance, and direct mentees to additional resources. Anything beyond this is above and beyond what a mentor signed up to do.
The mentors are volunteers NOT paid consultants. They should not take the place of a consultant and should not be expected to commit high levels of times outside of a few conversations where they provide outside perspective, guidance, and direct mentees to additional resources. Anything beyond this is above and beyond what a mentor signed up to do.
The highest number of mentees a mentor will have is 5. This will be subject to change as this program grows and develops.
Mentors applications are reviewed by the Future Ready team and are selected based on criteria outlined in the MatchK12 personnel will review applications on an on-going basis
Mentors have one (or several) the following experiences:
- currently employed at a school or district OR have extensive past experience in a school or district
- work or have worked with one or more subgroups of students – students of color, students of low-income background, students with learning differences, English language learners, etc.
- Work or have worked in a school or district level leadership role
- Work or have worked in a low-performing high school
- Have developed a process for and/or lead school improvement, turnaround, or modernization efforts in a high school
Mentors have one (or several) the following qualities:
- demonstrates strong listening skills and empathy when engaging with mentees
- willingness and ability to share their knowledge, resources and experiences
- accessibility and flexibility for monthly meetings, conference calls, and emails
The mentee will…
- be responsive in scheduling times to talk and questions to asked by mentor
- actively engaging the mentor in an initial conversation and continuing to engage with the mentor, as needed.
- honestly share with mentor
- demonstrate openness to the mentor’s advice, willingness to grow and consideration of new ideas
- Using the mentor/mentee relationship in a proactive way to improve and change practice.
The mentee gains knowledge, professional advice, topic-related advice, and information from mentor. The mentee and mentor create a solid connection that will ideally last beyond their mentoring relationship.
The Future Ready Mentoring program is a program from Future Ready Schools, a part of the Alliance for Excellent Education.
Future Ready Schools (FRS) is a bold effort to maximize digital learning opportunities and help school districts move quickly toward preparing students for success in college, a career, and citizenship. FRS provides districts with resources and support to ensure that local technology and digital learning plans align with instructional best practices, are implemented by highly trained teachers, and lead to personalized learning experiences for all students, particularly those from traditionally underserved communities.
You can learn more about Future Ready and its programs here (link).
Future Ready Schools is part of the Alliance for Excellent Education, a national non-profit whose mission to promote high school transformation to make it possible for every child to graduate prepared for postsecondary learning and success in life.
You can learn more about the Alliance for Excellent Education and its programs here (link).
Awesome! Thank you for partaking and we’re glad you had a great experience. Please make sure to review your experience (you should have received an email with a post survey).
You can help us out by sharing this with your network in person or online through social media, email, or other digital means.
First off, we’re sorry to hear that. Please make sure to review your experience (you should have received an email with a post survey). We take the experience of both our mentors and mentees seriously and are grateful you are reaching out to us to share more. It is our goal to ensure a consistent level of supportive and quality across all experiences.