Mentoring is a Verb : Strategies for Improving College and Career Readiness book cover
1st Edition

Mentoring is a Verb
Strategies for Improving College and Career Readiness

ISBN 9781138930179
Published January 21, 2016 by Routledge
174 Pages

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Book Description

This accessible guide offers school leaders a wealth of strategies to foster a culture where educators engage with young people to encourage college readiness and career success. Based in research and best practices, Mentoring is a Verb explains how to build effective mentoring programs as well as encourage educators to individually mentor students. Olwell breaks down the key elements it takes to forge lasting relationships with students and addresses ways to connect to at-risk students. Packed with actionable steps, this book gives you the tools to help your students set high expectations and goals, recognize and address barriers to success, plan for the future, and reach their post-graduation aspirations.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction: Mentoring young people toward post-secondary success

Part 1: What is Mentoring?

Chapter 2: What does it mean to be a mentor?

Chapter 3: What mentoring can and cannot do

Chapter 4: Setting up programs and relationships the right way

Section 2: What are mentors up against?

Chapter 5: Barriers and limits to mentoring

Chapter 6: Starting at "Ground Zero:" The issues young men face

Chapter 7: "You Gotta Push:" Mentoring young women to success

Part 2: Becoming a Mentor

Chapter 8: Setting and keeping high expectations

Chapter 9: Asking questions to clarify goals

Chapter 10: Connecting to parents and families

Part 3: Nuts and Bolts of Post-Secondary Success

Chapter 11: Mapping out a plan with a mentee

Chapter 12: Exposure to college options and choices

Chapter 13: Nuts and bolts of college application

Chapter 14: Running the Hurdles: Financial Aid and Scholarships

Chapter 15: When College is not the Right Choice Right Now

Part 4: Mentoring over the Long Haul

Chapter 16: Hang in there! Mentoring Through Crises in Young Peoples’ Lives

Chapter 17: When Mentoring Relationships Change

Part 5: Building Sustainable Programs

Chapter 18: How to Know You are Making a Difference

Chapter 19: Get the word out! Marketing Mentoring Programs

Chapter 20: Finding Resources To Sustain Mentoring Programs


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Russ Olwell is Director of the Institute for the Study of Children, Families, and Communities and Professor of History at Eastern Michigan University, USA. He has worked in summer programs, as a middle school teacher, and as Director of EMU GEAR UP, a pre-college program that sent more than 600 high school students in low-income districts to college.


"Mentoring is a Verb provides a thoughtful, straightforward approach to working with youth. Olwell’s understanding and compassion is evident in the ‘real-world’ descriptions of the obstacles faced, as well in as strategies to address them. This book emphasizes the importance of helping young people engage/re-engage with and move toward valuing their education. I am excited to use this book to lend structure and greater intention to my experience in the training of our peer and professional mentors."

-Mark A. Jackson, Director of APEX Scholars, Wayne State University


"As the knowledge economy continues to grow and the options for post-secondary education flourish in the United States, it is increasingly critical that educators have strong resources to guide their thinking. Preparing young students for jobs that have not yet been created requires informed educators to mentor and guide students for the challenges they will face in the post-secondary setting. This is an active process that we must engage students in, and this resource is critical to educators providing young people with an informed response to their needs."

--Richard Vandermolen, Principal of Central High School, MI


"Mentoring is a Verb provides practical, hands-on, thought-provoking activities that will enhance any mentorship program. The reflection questions throughout the chapters help you look at your own hang-ups before having a conversation with the mentee."

--Nicolette Lesniak, MiddleWeb,