Desk Location: Portable 2
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Our Mentor Group time is focused upon regular attendance, mastery of course standards, on-time graduation, post-high plan connected to interests and passions
Community- Mentor Group meets every Friday from 10:30 - 12:15 in a small family-like group of 9th - 12th graders. Each is tasked with leadership with lots of opportunities to learn and take risks in a safe learning community. Full inclusion for all students, regardless of labels (gifted? special education?) supports our community as we meet each other where we are on the journey. Recognizing our special strengths and challenges, persistence, interdependence and tremendous kindness makes our school a special place to learn.
Empathy- Learning empathy takes time and intention. Teenagers are forming identities and have tremendous sensitivity and some blind spots. Mentor Group is a great opportunity to learn about empathy, see from a different student, or even adult, perspective. Walking in another's shoes through Mentor Group activities, service projects, portfolio review conversations, student-led conferencing or informal opportunities to check-in is an important part of SAMI. It is why we ask students to stay with us and commit to their Mentor Group for a full four years. It is why we ask students to reflect on their goals and try to see the bigger picture. Learning empathy is what makes SAMI work and why rules and regulation always start with a rational conversation so everyone gets to know each other's perspective before we begin problem solving. Empathy starts at Black Lake Camp and continues to the applause of the Culminating Project Presentation and graduation of senior year.
Thinking- SAMI and SOTA think about school a little differently. Rigor is always relevant. Democratic conversations help students to ask critical questions and tackle important, college level texts and ideas. Having a safe place to explore ideas, look at all perspectives and ask important questions is essential. Mentor Group is a safe place for students to ask important questions and explore answers. It's the place to ask for help and advocacy if academic classes get tough. It's the place to set goals and select strategies to meet those goals. We have high expectations for students and staff. College in the High School classes demand understanding of complex ideas worthy of college credit. Mentor Groups capitalize on study buddies and mentors can be advocates to help students identify strategies to get the grades they want out of these challenging classes.
Balance- Eight classes, Mentor Group, Adventures & Applications, Mini-terms, Internships, Clubs and Culminating Project can be overwhelming! Developing effective strategies for balance is fundamental for staff and students. Mentors help students develop this skill as they guide students to build a viable schedule. Classes like TIME and BRIDGE can help students develop or reinforce critical content knowledge while developing leadership skills. We want to educate the whole child, gently guiding our students to maturity from dependence to independence to interdependence. Important check-ins at Mentor Group each week help students to connect. Reflection conversations about Conferencing goals help students to balance what strategies are working to make progress and think about what strategies are not working and should be replaced. Students listening and helping each other is an important part of the balance in our community.