Welcome to the Research in Action webinar series. I am Polly Roach, Vice President of Strategic Services for the Mentoring Partnership of Minnesota, filling in for our usual web host, April Riordan, who is on family leave but will be returning early next year. I’m also assisted today by (Lindsey and/or Shannon). For those of you who have been with us the last several months, this is familiar territory, but for those who haven’t, I first want to provide you with background on the Research in Action Series.
Here are the Research in Action topics we’ve covered this year
Because of the volume of information, we will handle this webinar differently than previous ones – I will review each of the 6 areas covered by “new developments” and stop for discussion of each new area as we proceed, rather than holding all discussion until the end. We have a fairly good-sized group today, so everyone except the panelists are currently muted. Please use the “raise your hand” feature or submit questions through webchat and we will unmute you to bring you into the live discussion. We will try to leave time for general discussion at the end, as well.
Kristi – say hello, introduce yourself further; if possible, provide some brief background on the impetus for the development of the this revision.
Who remembers when the Elements of Effective Practice, first released in 1990, consisted of a three-fold brochure listing components of a “responsible mentoring program” and a checklist of 10 things that a program needed to have in place, from a statement of purpose to an evaluation process? The focus was on articulating common principles to guide mentoring program development. The second edition, developed in 2003, integrated those original principles, along with new ideas and practices, into a more cohesive and comprehensive set of guidelines organized into four sections. To review, the four sections are listed here… Another major advance was the release, in 2005, of the toolkit funded by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, entitled How to Build a Successful Mentoring Program Using the Elements of Effective Practice . The toolkit provided in-depth guidance on how to build and sustain a strong mentoring program, along with over 160 examples of actual program practices and documents from mentoring programs around the country, all in customizable versions to allow for a greater focus on using the best of best practices and less on reinventing the wheel. Show of (virtual) hands – how many of you own an Elements tool kit or have downloaded the online toolkit or tools? If you don’t have one, you will find the link for downloading at the end of this presentation.
The third edition retains the 4 sections found in the second edition. What is new is the focus on providing benchmarks for specific components of program operations – the day to day business of running a mentoring programs. These benchmarks, and suggested enhancements, are derived from current research on evidence-based practice, or what programs do that is linked to positive outcomes in mentoring relationships. The new developments are pulled out as the focus of the third edition and “layered” on top of the previous iteration of the Elements of Effective Practice. To find out that the new edition covers, let’s dive in to each of the six areas. Again, there is a lot of text ahead; I wanted you to get the full impact of this revision, so I left the language from the third edition intact and resorted to underlining to direct us to key points. You can also download the complete Third Edition at the MENTOR website, which is listed at the end of this presentation (or you can pull it up now at www.mentoring.org, under “Find Resources”). I will highlight some of the significant changes and invite your questions and comments as we review each area; Kristi, please add your comments as well.
If time allows, we will utilize these questions to prompt discussion.
Kristi, are there any resources from MENTOR that you would like to highlight?
Thank you, Kristi, and thanks to everyone for participating – we hope to talk to you again in 2010!
RESEARCH IN ACTION Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring, 3rd Edition New Developments in Best Practices for Mentoring
Research In Action: Overview of Series Last year, MENTOR released the National Agenda for Action: How to Close America’s Mentoring Gap . Representing the collective wisdom of the mentoring field, the Agenda articulates five key strategies and action items necessary to move the field forward and truly close the mentoring gap. In an effort to address one of these critical strategies—elevating the role of research—MENTOR created the Research and Policy Council , an advisory group composed of the nation’s leading mentoring researchers, policymakers, and practitioners. In September 2006, MENTOR convened the first meeting of the Research and Policy Council with the goal of increasing the connection and exchange of ideas among practitioners, policymakers, and researchers to strengthen the practice of youth mentoring. The Research in Action series is the first product to evolve from the work of the Council—taking current mentoring research and translating it into useful, user-friendly materials for mentoring practitioners.
Research In Action Issues: Issue 1: Mentoring: A Key Resource for Promoting PYD Issue 2: Effectiveness of Mentoring Program Practices Issue 3: Program Staff in Youth Mentoring Programs Issue 4: Fostering Close and Effective Relationships Issue 5: Why Youth Mentoring Relationships End Issue 6: School-Based Mentoring Issue 7: Cross-Age Peer Mentoring Issue 8: Mentoring Across Generations: Engaging Age 50+ Adults Issue 9: Youth Mentoring: Do Race and Ethnicity Really Matter? Issue 10: Mentoring: A Promising Intervention for Children of Prisoners
Research In Action: Conclusion of Series This is the last in MPM’s Research in Action webinar series . We have completed our tour through the RIA Issue briefs, and had some great discussions with researchers and practitioners in our field. We appreciate all the insight that everyone has contributed to these webinars. We are concluding the series with a look at the new edition of the Elements of Effective Practice – not one of the RIA topics, but perhaps the most definitive example of research in action yet. This revision uses current research on evidence-based practice in the youth mentoring field to provide guidance for mentoring program operation and day-to-day practice. The webinar series will continue next year, as we shift gears to examine Quality in Action . In January 2010, we will begin highlighting innovative and effective practices found through mentoring research and in the field. Stay connected to MPM for more details on this series – and let us know if you have items for topics or best practices to feature in 2010.
Standard: Screen prospective mentors to determine whether they have the time, commitment and personal qualities to be an effective mentor.
Mentor completes an application .
Mentor agrees to a one (calendar or school) year minimum commitment for the mentoring relationship.
Mentor agrees to participate in face-to-face meetings with his or her mentee that average one time per week and one hour per meeting over the course of a calendar or school year.
Note : This benchmark may be addressed differently as long as there is evidence to support that the variation is associated with positive outcomes for mentees. As a general rule, programs should aim to either meet this benchmark or provide a rationale for doing otherwise. (e.g., combining in-person meetings with online communication or calls; meeting almost exclusively online;
meeting less than once a week, for longer meetings).
Program conducts at least one face-to-face interview with mentor.
Program conducts a reference check (personal and/or professional) on mentor.
Program conducts a comprehensive criminal background check on adult mentor, including searching a national criminal records database along with sex offender and child abuse registries.
Parent(s)/guardian(s) complete an application and provide informed consent for their child to participate.
Parent(s)/guardian(s) and mentee agree to a one (calendar or school) year minimum commitment for the mentoring relationship.
Parents(s)/guardian(s) and mentee agree that the mentee will participate in face-to-face meetings with his or her mentor a minimum of one time per week , on average, for a minimum of one hour per meeting , on average.
Program utilizes national, fingerprint-based FBI criminal background checks (e.g., the SafetyNET system operating under the auspices of the Child Protection Improvements Act, in cooperation with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children).
School-based programs assess mentor’s interest in maintaining contact with mentee during the summer months following the close of the school year and offer assistance with maintaining contact.
Program provides additional pre-match training opportunities beyond the two-hour, in-person minimum.
Program addresses the following developmental topics in the training:
a. Youth development process;
b. Cultural, gender and economic issues; and
c. Opportunities and challenges associated with mentoring specific populations of children (e.g., children of prisoners, youth involved in the juvenile justice system, youth in foster care, high school dropouts), if relevant.
Program uses training to continue to screen mentors for suitability and develops techniques for early trouble-shooting should problems be identified.
Standard: Match mentors and mentees along dimensions likely to increase the odds that mentoring relationships will endure.
Program considers its aims , as well as the characteristics of the mentor and mentee (e.g., interests, proximity, availability, age, gender, race, ethnicity, personality and expressed preferences of mentor and mentee) when making matches.
Program arranges and documents an initial meeting between the mentor and mentee.
Program staff member should be on site and/or present during the initial meeting of the mentor and mentee.
Standard: Monitor mentoring relationship milestones and support mentors with ongoing advice, problem-solving support and training opportunities for the duration of the relationship.
Program contacts the mentor and mentee at a minimum frequency of twice per month for the first month of the match and monthly thereafter.
Program documents information about each mentor-mentee contact , including, at minimum, date, length and nature of contact.
Program provides mentors with access to at least two types of resources (e.g., expert advice from program staff or others; publications; Web-based resources; experienced mentors; available social service referrals) to help mentors negotiate challenges in the mentoring relationships as they arise.
Program follows evidenced-based protocol to elicit more in-depth assessment from the mentor and mentee about the relationship and uses scientifically-tested relationship assessment tools.
Program provides one or more opportunities per year for post-
Next webinar is Wednesday, January 6, 2010, from 12 - 1pm CST, and kicks off Quality in Action.
It will provide an overview of MPM's new QMAP (Quality Mentoring Assessment Path) tool, designed to help youth mentoring programs improve quality by evaluating program practices and processes . The tool is based on the latest version of the Elements of Effective Practice standards, and current research on evidence-based practice in the field of mentoring, as well as insight from mentoring program practitioners around our state.