Mentoring in Middle School

Mentors play a crucial role in many ASPIRE programs. This section of the toolkit includes a wealth of information for supporting volunteer mentors.

Types of Mentoring Models

ASPIRE has three mentoring models that work well for middle schools:

  • Group Mentoring: ASPIRE suggested middle school program activities are delivered by volunteers or teachers in a classroom or workshop setting. Students complete college and career focused activities with assistance from ASPIRE volunteer (volunteer screening determined by site administration).
  • Peer Mentoring Model: ASPIRE students from nearby high school sites meet one-on-one or with groups of ASPIRE middle school students. This model requires coordination between the high school and middle school coordinators. Peer mentors must complete the peer mentoring training provided by the high school before meeting with students.
  • Special Event Model: Students attend college and career focused presentations given by episodic volunteers, participate in job shadows, go on field trips to college campuses and participate in other ASPIRE activities. Volunteers help to direct conversations during events and discuss the relevance of each activity (volunteer screening determined by site administration).

Who are the Mentors?

Traditional Mentor: An adult volunteer from the community, eighteen years or older, recruited and screened by ASPIRE sites. These mentors complete a background check as determined by site administration.

Staff Mentor: ASPIRE Site staff who assist and have ongoing communication with students about their future. These may include counselors, Career and College Readiness teachers (CTE or AVID Classes), coaches, support staff, etc.

Episodic Mentor: An adult volunteer from the community, eighteen years or older, who leads college and career focused presentations and activities for groups of students in the presence of site staff. The site’s administration decides if episodic presenters must complete a background check.

Peer Mentor: An ASPIRE high school junior or senior who has participated in the ASPIRE peer mentor training. Peer mentors are matched one-on-one or with small groups of middle school students.