- The Detroit Public Schools Community District on Tuesday announced a new program that will give black and Latino students in grades 6 through 12 the opportunity to be paired with mentors who look like them, Chalkbeat reports.
- While announcing the 5,000 Role Models of Excellence Project, Superintendent Nikolai Vitti noted the importance of mentors to his own success after his father left.
- The program will identify a total of 300 students — 50 each from a group of six schools — and match them with mentors in group settings through themed weekly meetings, a monthly speaker series, community service projects and college access support, according to Chalkbeat.
Research has shown that when students of color have a teacher who looks like them, they're more likely to achieve. And while it's not possible for that to happen constantly, making sure students of color regularly see a role model somewhere in the school who looks like them is equally important.
There's an additional layer to this challenge in STEM fields, where people of color and women have long been underrepresented in the workforce. Providing students with examples of people like them who succeeded in any given situation can reinforce for students that they, too, can achieve great things. If those opportunities aren't directly available within the school building, community mentorship programs and even virtual meetings with a variety of people in different fields can help to fill that need.