While the 2019-20 school year will see the elimination of teacher assistants, other opportunities such as junior and senior Advisory mentors and tutors rose to fill the gap. While the option of senior mentor is not new, starting next year the responsibility would be open to juniors as well. Additionally, student tutors are a new concept at RBHS, said counselor Douglas Stansberry. While the specific details are not yet set in stone, Stansberry encourages whoever is interested to come speak with him in the counseling office.
Currently the responsibilities of a mentor is to guide freshmen through their first year in high school, help them get involved in clubs and activities, encourage students to develop RBHS spirit, as well as just being a friend, Stansberry said. As for tutors, most would specialize in freshman courses such as math, physics and civics classes.
“We could have mentors in the classroom and also stationed out students who are going to specialize in tutoring,” Stansberry said. “So kind of breaking that a part into a mentoring component and/or a tutoring component. So people might do one or both.”
This year there are 29 advisories. Stansberry said around 45 students applied to be mentors, and that the number is “never as many as we hope would apply.”
Stansberry said student mentor and teacher pairing is random and mostly dependent on scheduling.
“We really don’t even know until we get closer to the start of the school year which teachers we are going to have as our Advisory teachers,” Stansberry said. “So our pairings are pretty much done at random just depending on the students schedule and how it fits with the teacher’s schedule.”
Junior Tanweer Sheth developed a great connection to her senior mentor as a freshmen. She plans on applying for the position herself.
“[My senior mentor] was really friendly and she always did activities that were good for us,” Sheth said.
Sophomore Vishnu Arun is thinking about applying for the position to serve as a guide for freshmen, something he really appreciated last year.
“My senior mentors helped me in figuring out how high school works. Things like how to keep up with classes, balance them well and how to plan for your future,” Arun said. “I definitely am happy that they opened it up to juniors. Juniors have many of the same experiences as seniors, just less time in high school and less exposure to classes. We can give them insightful tips and be a good, if not better, guide than seniors.”
The new setup is new to Stansberry, and he said there are still things administration needs to figure out. Besides that, he said it is encouraging to see juniors and seniors take interest in becoming mentors and tutors to the newest addition to RBHS.
“We want a larger pool of individuals who can step up to be leaders,” Stansberry said. “We certainly need more students who can be helpful to our ninth grade class coming in.”