Teenagers can be unpredictable and are often inscrutable. By building a trusting relationship, where your student understands that your role is not to judge, but to support, communication lines will be open and these situations will be easier to navigate. You are a steadying influence, but it remains up to the student to heed your support and guidance.
You will be able to mitigate some of these situations, but others you will want to direct to the parents or a school official. Your first contact for these situations is Aimee Arens. You may also want to review the East Student Handbook to learn about disciplinary actions for various infractions. (Your student has a copy of the handbook.)
If things are not working as you expected, let Aimee know. Some matches are just not meant to be. However, consistency and maintaining the long view can achieve a sustained relationships with your student. When this happens, and it often does, the results can be mutually rewarding.
At times, you student may seem distant and not want to talk to you. They might be tired, have something on their mind, are afraid or are not ready to share with you, or a myriad of other reasons. Teenagers are protective of their emotions. Do not take their distance personally. Try asking open-ended questions that require more than a yes or no response. Remind them that you are available to listen when they are ready and then move on. You might want to say something like, "This is our time together, how do you want to spend it?" Aimee is always available to help.
Students may experience a failing grade for any number of reasons: missing assignments, poor test grades, absences, or a teacher's grading scale. While a failing grade can be frustrating, because we know they can do better, your encouraging support and guidance will help your student improve. Students, especially in ninth grade, are being held accountable for grades for the first time in their academic career; a failing grade may mean they will need to re-take the class.
Repeated absences are the most significant reason a student fails a class. An absence needs to be excused by a parent or guardian. It is the student's responsibility to approach teachers to obtain any work that was missed during an excused absence. A teacher will either "exempt" the assignment or allow the student to make up the work.
Students with excessive absences will be placed on an attendance contract, which may involve further disciplinary action. You can help by trying to identify the root cause of excessive absences. You may be able to offer a simple solution (for example, setting two alarms). You can always talk with Aimee about your student's attendance.
A suspension is considered sensitive information that the dean's office cannot share with mentors. You will not be automatically notified of a suspension, but may learn about it from your student or student's family.
Homelessness and Other Family Situations
Family situations can sometimes be difficult for a mentor to maneuver. Do as you feel comfortable, based on your relationship with the family. If you feel uncomfortable about anything, do not hesitate to contact Aimee, who, based on the level of intervention required, may suggest you contact the counselor. You may also call Denver's 3-1-1 access who can direct you to the appropriate community resource.
Substance Abuse, Eating Disorders and Pregnancy
East High School has a number of support systems available to students. Mentors who suspect behavioral or health issues, should contact Aimee, who will then contact the most appropriate resource.