Mentoring and SUPPORT
Studies show that when students develop positive relationships with adults outside the home the effect on the students’ social-emotional growth and academic progress can be profound. The feeling of being believed in and valued by someone, and, in turn, of trusting and appreciating a mentor’s steady influence, can be an affirming and transformative experience.
York works hard to foster this type of relationship in both structured and casual ways. We check to ensure every student is developing positive connections with one or more teachers. We provide students with opportunities to connect with classmates from different grade levels and family backgrounds in sports, music groups, in the classroom, on the stage, in clubs, and in student government. Many York students have stretched their comfort zones because someone, somewhere along the way, believed in them and encouraged them to try something new or rise to a challenge. Many students pay it forward, helping the cycle start again.
This type of relationship building is at the heart of York’s supportive and welcoming community.
Here are some of the many ways we intentionally create mentoring relationships on campus:
PATH is an advisory discussion group usually made up of 8-10 students in multiple grade levels. Each PATH group has an advisor, or Sherpa, who acts as discussion facilitator each cycle on D days. Discussions focus on topics of character, social and emotional intelligence, and other subjects of the wider world. The purpose of the group meetings is to encourage students to think beyond the academic and beyond their individual experiences to foster a sense of purpose and greater meaning in their lives.
Why is it called PATH? In popular culture, many people think independent schools prepare a path for their students. At York, we’re focused on preparing our students for their paths by helping them develop the kind of non-cognitive life skills – resiliency, determination, grit, empathy – that will help them navigate their future.
Sean Raymond has a broad knowledge of teaching and learning at York, as well as overall educational theory and practice. He oversees class scheduling and graduation requirements, and can guide students and parents in many aspects of school life. Students must receive approval from the Academic Dean before finalizing course requests in the spring. Mr. Raymond also works with our faculty on our educational program, including curriculum development, professional growth, and new opportunities for student focused learning. He can be reached by phone at x108 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our teachers are committed to their students’ success. The School schedule is designed to help students connect with their teachers for additional support or challenge in their classes. Students are encouraged to meet with teachers during scheduled tutorials two to three times a week or during another time slot when teachers are available (before or after school or during a free period). The Mathematics and Science Departments offer peer tutoring on Wednesdays as well. Parents who would like to engage private tutors should consult with the class teacher or with the Academic Dean for recommendations or advice.
To further support students’ academic achievement and school-life balance, our Academic Coach works with students individually to offer strategies for organizing, prioritizing, and calendaring of their academic and extracurricular lives. One-on-one sessions may include:
- visualizing academic goals and benchmarks
- boosting note-taking skills
- constructing and revising essays
- mapping out study sessions before exams
- advocating for learning accommodations
- utilizing technology to assist reading, writing, and studying
- rehearsing presentation
- following up on progress
- celebrating successes
Oftentimes, teachers identify students in their classes who may benefit from this individualized attention. The Academic Coach works closely with educators to keep apprised of each student’s status in their coursework. Sessions with students can occur during study periods and before or after school. Coaching is targeted to each individual’s strengths and areas for improvement, as well as to their social-emotional needs. All in all, students adopt a growth mindset toward learning and time management by developing executive functioning skills and deepening self-confidence that directly benefits their academic and individual success.
York faculty have compiled excellent resources, available at this link: learning.yrk.link, providing strategies for how to approach learning, effectively prepare for and take assessments, and cope with and reduce stress.
Our alumni routinely report that learning how to seek assistance from their teachers at York helped prepare them to take full advantage of their professors’ office hours in college. They note that this is a skill their college classmates often lack and credit York with making this part of their transition to university life much easier.