DESOTO—As a DeSoto ISD retired teacher, I valued and looked forward to all the opportunities that came before me each day to engage with students. What I valued most about engaging with my students was the opportunity to encourage them, to give them guidance, to help them talk through their goals and dreams and be the mirror that held them accountable as they grew and marched towards graduation and life thereafter.
During my time as a teacher at DeSoto High School, I directed the Peer Assistance and Leadership program. What I loved most about the PALs program was facilitating students helping other students socially, emotionally and academically. In these interactions among peers, I witnessed the development of life-changing relationships for the students involved including a natural adoption of mentor and mentee roles and dynamics.
Young people with mentors, especially at-risk youth, have more positive visions of themselves and their futures, and they also achieve more positive outcomes in school, the workplace, and their communities which is what I have observed as a result of students who experienced the engagement of a peer or adult mentor. As an educator, I saw firsthand that every student deserves quality mentoring relationships that will allow them to more completely realize their full potential and, with January serving as National Mentoring Month, there is no time like the present to make a personal commitment to directly supporting a DeSoto ISD student through mentorship.
Everyday, I observe teachers and staff at schools across the district actively mentoring our students in DeSoto ISD. These dedicated people serve as a friends, advocates, coaches, listeners and encouragers to students, parents, and co-workers. People in the education setting are committed to serving others. Teachers continually model good decision-making and, through discussion and lessons, students are provided with honest and constructive feedback a on variety of topics to encourage their growth as individuals.
DeSoto ISD’s mission statement declares that “DeSoto ISD will prepare each student academically and socially to be a problem solver and productive citizen for a 21st century global society.” Doing so, takes the entire community committed to growing students into responsible adults who will be equipped to shape and lead this community and the world in which we live.
Students need examples to show them how to accomplish this task. Do you have something to offer students? Do you have a heart for helping others? Mentoring works. Lives can be changed when you when you share your knowledge with someone. Commit to volunteer with the district through our Voly system which takes your interests and talents into consideration when matching you with opportunities for engagement with our students.
Sign up to be a DeSoto ISD mentor or volunteer by visiting https://desotoisd.voly.org/ or contact Student Support Services at 972.223.6666 and change the life of a DeSoto ISD student today.
-By Kathy Goad, DeSoto ISD Trustee Place 2