School Spotlight – Explorations Academy – Mentoring Program


About the Program

The 9th grade males participate in the Music Partnership Program every 1st & 3rd Wednesday of the month and the 2nd & 4th Wednesday of the month they meet with their mentors to discuss activity topics related to grade level. The 10th grade males participate in the Music Partnership Program every 2nd & 4th Wednesday of the month and the 1st & 3rd Wednesday of the month they meet with the mentors to discuss activity topics related to grade level. In the Music Program our males students will learn to play different instruments and other related music activities such as drumming/Guitar/Rock band and chorus. The mentoring program is supervised by Mr. Garcia, one of our guidance Counselor and is has been in place since ESI Year I. The Mentoring Coordinator meets with Mentors, who are students in the 11th & 12th grades, to discuss weekly activities as well as issues concerning any of the mentees.

Connections to ESI and CRE Goals

Target Population/Total Students:

  • 9th Grade – 46 Boys (13 & 14 years old)
  • 10th Grade -56 Boys (15 & 16 years old)


Student retention was a challenge. Students were very happy to start the program and then some started to be absent due to excuses in their homes, interest level in some of the activities, or not being willing to obey program rules.

How did school overcome challenges?

We decided to offer Mentoring every week using our Music Partner as something new for our students. We decided to expose our 9th & 10th grade males to the song composition, instruments playing and every activity facilitated by the Music Program to infuse new and fresh activities. We continue to offer the mentoring piece in which our males receive information on topics or issues relevant to grade level as well as physical education component once a month to key point in the physical wellbeing of our males.

How did you evaluate that this practice was effective?

  • Activities attendance sheets to verify students were present or absent
  • Pre and Post survey to evaluate students’ participation
  • Teachers’ observation
  • Twice a year cultural talent show to showcase what students have done after school
  • Three times a year students vs. teachers Sports tournaments

How will you continue to sustain this practice?

  • After the ESI Grant is over, we are thinking to embed some of the English & Math Literacy in the students’ schedule. For example, right we are currently working on a Math Lab in which students who need more Math support with be scheduled for Math Lab Literacy to provide the extra support needed in any of the offered Math classes (Algebra, Geometry & Tri).
  • We can look at mini grants available for school in order to have some financial support for trips or other activities.
  • Linkages with local stakeholders and colleges in order to continue offer college readiness and college trips to our students.

The shift in school culture has been overwhelmingly positive: student achievement is increasing, and attendance for underclassmen students has improved as ninth and tenth graders feel more adjusted to high school and part of a community.

Recently, 43 students involved in the mentoring program at Explorations visited Shawnee Mountain in Pennsylvania. In the morning, mentors and mentees took part in team-building and trust-building activities. In the afternoon, students had fun going snow tubing to conclude their trip.