The organization that I lead, the board of the National Center for Competency-Based Learning, is very excited to be working with the schools, the community and students on the 1000 Mentors for Manchester project. The response to date tells us that many of you are excited about playing a role in the lives of Manchester students. For clarity, 1000 Mentors for Manchester is different than the amazing Big Brothers Big Sisters program that connects caring adults who could be great role models to young people who need good role models.
1000 Mentors for Manchester is, in large part, about internships designed to provide quality learning experiences that can yield credit toward high school graduation. That’s a significant difference from BBBS. As part of our research on mentorship programs all over the United States, we couldn’t find another that is specifically geared to getting credit in school. In fact, we’ve been approached by Big Brothers Big Sisters and expect to have a conversation with them to discuss how we might work together.
The general concept is catching on and more and more school districts are coming forward. The Monadnock regional school district is the second in the state to sign on and the NCCBL has presentations scheduled in other districts this month.
Not only will this program help to move public education into the 21st century, it’s going to change thousands of kids’ lives. I wish that all of you could see the excitement in students when we inform them that state regulations no longer demand that they have to do school the old way in order to get their credits; that they can now take ownership of their learning and, ultimately, use their out-of-school experiences to jump-start them on their lives’ paths.
Monadnock Superintendent Dr. Leo Corriveau shared with me that, after my visit to their high school, some of the students were so excited about their possibilities that they were actually shaking with enthusiasm.
As for me, I’ve already begun mentoring three great students from the Making Community Connections Charter School in Manchester. I’ve been working with Amy, Mia and Nick at Thrifty’s Secondhand Stuff. They are going to have some great learning experiences in this secondhand store. So, what could you offer for quality learning experiences to Manchester students? Let us know.
Fred Bramante is the past chairman and member of the NH State Board of Education. Fred speaks and consults on education redesign to regional, state, and national organizations.