December 23, 2021
State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Announces Plan to Build Statewide Mentoring Program, Calls for Participation
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today announced plans to build a statewide mentoring program to help all California students and is calling for participation from mentoring organizations in the state that would like to be part of the initiative. The goal of the effort is to connect caring adult volunteers to California students who need extra support to be successful in school.
“When I first started thinking about running to become State Superintendent, I always thought that in order to close opportunity and achievement gaps, there needed to be a program to make sure no student falls through the cracks—a way to put individual focus on students who need additional help,” said Thurmond. " I intended to pilot such a program when my term started, but that plan got pushed to the side when the pandemic began. I can see how a program like this is needed even more right now because of how the pandemic has impacted the learning and social-emotional needs of California students.”
The priority focus will be to support students in middle and high school, but students in any grade level can be supported in any part of the state, including students in urban, rural, suburban, or frontier communities. The program will focus on students of color, low-income students, and any other students in need of additional support. Mentors can provide career coaching, motivational talks, and basic tutoring but mainly will serve as caring adults who can help students find success in school and in life.
Thurmond said he sees the mentoring program as one that will work in conjunction with many other programs being implemented by the California Department of Education to help students heal, recover, and thrive—notably a $3 billion community schools strategy; universal meal and transitional kindergarten programs being developed; and a host of grant programs to address social isolation, anti-racism, and professional development for school staff. The mentoring program will also work in conjunction with efforts Thurmond recently announced to recruit 10,000 mental health clinicians to support Black student achievement and to support literacy and biliteracy for California students.
Thurmond plans to build out the mentoring program while he continues to visit schools regularly, and he will release more program design details in the coming weeks. He also intends to hold regular motivational talks with students, drawing upon his own experiences as a former student in need, during school visits. Thurmond credits his teachers and caring adults in his community for helping him overcome challenges such as losing his mother to cancer at the age of six and growing up in an Afro-Latino immigrant household where his family often relied on public assistance programs to provide when there was not enough food in the house.
Organizations interested in supporting this mentoring program for California students should contact email@example.com.
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Tony Thurmond —
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100