What Does an Elementary Success Mentor Do?

Elementary success mentors are cheerleaders, advocates, and motivators who encourage their mentees to attend school every day.

This section describes the seven key elements that define the role of a success mentor, drawn from the experience of the New York City Department of Education.


How is a Success Mentor Different from or Similar to Traditional Mentoring Programs?

In contrast to more traditional mentoring, the Success Mentor model is much more integrated into the school environment, focused on attendance and attendance data, and dependent upon family engagement for success especially in the early elementary years. Below is an outline of key differences and similarities.

  • Uses attendance data as primary factor to identify participants

  • Requires connecting to a student a minimum of 3 times a week, not just once a week

  • Involves monitoring of attendance data on a much more frequent basis, ideally daily

  • Includes more interaction with families

  • Requires mentors with deeper understanding of schools

  • Must be tied to a school attendance team

  • Interactions typically occur on the school site versus in community-based settings

  • Respects the importance of building a relationship over time

  • Recognizes the need to carefully match mentors/mentees

  • Ensures mentors receive training and support

  • Leverages willingness of adults to volunteer their time to help a young person grow and thrive

  • Can use technology to monitor what is happening with students and mentors

  • Requires attention to ensuring program quality such as the six standards (recruitment, screening, training, matching & initiation, monitoring and support, and closure) described in more depth in Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring