Ferndale High School – October 2020

Stories to share:

Student cherishes time with his Mentor

One week, a student could not make it to his regularly scheduled Zoom call with his mentor and wanted to reschedule. However, the mentor was not available until the following week. The student insisted that they still meet twice that week, even though there would only be one day in between Zoom calls. The mentor agreed!

 Festivities over Zoom

Mentor and mentee painted pumpkins together over Zoom!

Two other matches play chess and uno online (approved by Mentor Coordinator).

 Mentors and Mentees value each other

A student and mentor tried Zoom for the first time. At the end of the meeting, I asked how it went and if they wanted to Zoom again. The mentee exclaimed, “Yes! I missed her so much!” This came as a big shock to the mentor. Last year, the mentor was worried that the student had lost interest since they had not emailed like some of the other matches. Mentors can underestimate the value they bring to their student. A consistent, caring adult is a simple concept, but highly desirable for any student!

 Student Phone Call

I have been trying to reconnect a mentor and student for two months now. It has been difficult to correspond over email with the student, so setting something up has not been successful. Last week, I checked my work phone’s voice messages – and the student left me a voicemail! She wants to reconnect with her mentor. We will continue to work towards setting up a Zoom call.

 A message to Mentors

Mentors, remember that your mentee values you! They are learning how to work remotely and are on their computers most the school day. The majority of students read your emails, but are too tired to respond, or forget to come back to them. Their lack of response is not a reflection of your value as their mentor. If they cannot attend a Zoom session with you, it has so much more to do with their life circumstances than their view of you. Continue to be there for them, even if they cannot fully be there for you. Keep writing those emails. Keep rescheduling those Zoom calls. Keep telling them they matter. You all are doing a great job (even though it looks differently this year). Keep up the good work! –Your mentor coordinator

 A couple quotes to share:

 “Thank you for having this program and thanks to Mrs. Nelson for being there for my daughter, she so enjoys her time with her!” – Parent of BTO Mentee

 “My mentor is a great help with everything and a great person to talk to about my future. I believe he’s my life mentor. The best mentor ever!” – BTO student

“When I am having a hard time or a really stressful time, I get to go to my mentor and forget about all my problems, or even talk it through with them. Most of the time we play games or exchange surprise treats for each other. It honestly feels like I have a best friend outside of school who can come visit. Even if it’s just an hour it feels like a whole day with my mentor. So I appreciate Amber for being there for me and listening to my problems, and being a fun, loveable, and understanding person.” – FHS Senior


FHS Reopening Information:

  • Late October we moved to Stage 3 for reopening. See link: https://www.ferndalesd.org/reopening-plan/learning-model-status
  • The majority of students will work remotely until end of January (end of first Semester)
  • Students in life skills, a behavior program or in ELL have returned to campus two days a week
  • FHS will continue to allow students who need internet access to work on-campus
  • On October 26th, some sports teams started practicing on-campus
  • In November, some students will come back to campus to receive small group targeted instruction. (Students w/IEPs, general ed students who request additional help, students in CTE classes)

 Mentor-Mentee Correspondence for October

  • Mentors and Mentees are corresponding by email and Zoom
  • Students are only interacting with mentors outside of class time


  • 13 matches have used Zoom
    • 11 matches met regularly via Zoom,
    • 2 other matches met at least once on Zoom
    • 2 matches tried to Zoom, but student didn’t attend


  • 10 matches have corresponded via Email
    • 1 match is corresponding regularly via email
    • 9 matches have corresponded at least once
  • A couple more mentors have reached out via Email, but didn’t receive a response

Zoom is more effective than Email

  • Students are regularly showing up to Zoom meeting times. Students are not regularly responding to mentor’s email.
  • Student’s explanation for lack of email response is typically, “I read them, and then want to respond to them later, but I never get to it.” Or, they want to get off the computer since they were on it all day to complete their schoolwork.
  • Conclusion: Mentor Coordinator will encourage mentors and mentees to try Zoom

Meeting in Person – Phased-In Approach for BTO Students

  • Off-Campus, In-person meetings proposal was approved on Tuesday October 27th. Volunteers are not allowed in the building at FHS, so Mentor Coordinator presented an off-campus proposal for students in greatest need.
    • Up to 5 students can participate – based on greatest need, guardian permission, student’s desire
    • Mentor Coordinator will be present for all meetings
    • Must be in a public place – coffee shop, YMCA, etc.
    • Must follow all health/safety guidelines & Mentor cannot drive student
  • Starting with 3 students and their mentors
    • All three have guardian permission
    • All three are scheduled to meet in person next week (Nov 2nd-6th)
    • All have reliable transportation to and from site
  • If successful, will add 2 more students in November for a total of 5 matches

Program Development

  • No new matches at FHS in October. Will begin new matches when students are on campus and volunteers are allowed in the building.
    • Already have 3 new matches ready for “initial meeting” once it’s possible
  • One person attended New Mentor Orientation on October 20th and wants to continue the onboarding process to be a mentor
  • District Office will schedule up to 2 appointments per week for Fingerprinting
  • “Even the Helpers need Helping: Selfcare for Mentors” – November 19th 10-11am
    • Zoom Equipping for all mentors
    • Speaker is Lindsay Anderson, Nooksack Valley Elem. Mental Health Counselor
  • Mentor Coordinator is working on a multi-district slideshow for mentor appreciation. Will contain quotes from students, pictures of mentors/mentees together and other uplifting moments from BTO. Will be presented to mentors on Nov 19th’s Equipping
  • Mentor Coordinators are checking in with each other and collaborating on a regular basis.