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Mentor Teacher

Supporting students one-on-one socially, emotionally, and academically


A crucial indicator of student success in school is whether or not the student feels supported, respected, and valued by adults in their learning environment (whether in-person or virtual). Many schools have implemented a mentor teacher program, through which students are paired with an adult at the school who supports them socially, emotionally, and academically throughout their academic career. Some schools use different names for the program, such as “Anchor” at Map Academy or “Primary Person Model” at Phoenix Charter Academy.


Schools can implement a mentor/advisor program that goes beyond the scope and capacity of guidance counselors by implementing mentor teachers. Here are some ideas that schools have used to implement this type of support system in their schools:

  • Determine the goal of the program. School leaders should determine the outcomes they hope to see from a student-teacher mentor program. These goals should influence the role the mentor teacher plays, which can range from prioritizing the mental health and wellness of their assigned students, to being an advocate for them at the school, to monitoring their academic progress and offering support along the way.

  • Allow students to make decisions. Village High School allows students to select their mentor teacher and decide how often they want to meet and what they want the relationship to look like.

  • Create time for student-mentor connection. Map Academy starts and ends each day with an “Anchor” block, during which students can set academic daily goals and reflect on their progress with the support of their adult Anchor/mentor.

“The mentor relationship is defined by both parties [students and teachers]. They'll sit down and the mentors ask, ‘Why did you pick me? Do we want to meet once a week, every other week, once a month? Let’s help define what this relationship is going to look like.’ The mentor keeps an eye on the online system and sees how the kids are doing. If a teacher has a concern about a kid and their performance, the first stop is their mentor. They ask, ‘What's going on in this kid's life? Is there something I need to know about?’ The mentors really take ownership over those kids and their success.” - Nathan Gorsch, Principal of Village High School

Strategy Resources

Education Disruption Podcast Episode: Student-Teacher Relationships

This podcast episode, named “When Student-Teacher Relationships are Prioritized, Learners Thrive,” dives into the story... Learn More

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Mentor Teacher Selection Form

Village High School in Colorado allows students to select their mentor teacher through a voting... Learn More

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