Kansas Health Foundation highlights Adop A Class in video
The Kansas Health Foundation highlighted USD 490's Adopt A Class community mentoring program in their video that focuses on great things happening in Kansas schools.
Ashley Booker with the Kansas Health Foundation visited El Dorado to visit with community mentors and EHS juniors about the Adopt A Class mentoring partnership. The EHS class of 2020 was the first Kindergarten class to have business men and women join them in the classroom for the new mentoring program.
These community volunteers read to students, played games with them during recess, provided extra help with math, and ran in board races with them each year. When the Kindergarten students promoted to first grade, the mentors moved on up with them and new mentors were brought in for the next year's Kindergarten class.
This tradition has continued for the past twelve years, and these mentors have grown and learned alongside their original group of students as they progressed through their middle school years and into high school.
Mentoring at the high school level tends to be more of a group approach, with mentors and students from each elementary having been shuffled together in middle school. The mentors work together to teach students life skills such as the importance of a firm handshake or proper cell phone etiquette in a public setting.
The program began as an effort to encourage the community to be more involved with schools. Having mentors remain with the same group of students allows for stronger bonds to form and provides students with a support system outside of their school or home.
Linda Baines works at Sun Group Real Estate and is one of the original mentors. She encouraged her broker, David Sundgren and brother, Tom Storrer, to join her mentoring team that first year.
"It helps students know this is part of their community and these are people that care," Baines said.
Booker also interviewed Rod Nelson, another original mentor who is now retired from HollyFrontier but continues to mentor students. He shared photos, newspaper clippings, handmade birthday cards, and thank you notes that his students have sent him over the years.
The day of Booker's visit, the Junior class mentors joined students in making homeless care kits that included socks, chap stick, granola bars, water, and a wash cloth. They also made Christmas ornaments as part of KAY's citizenship week.