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Strong Mentors Improve Student Success

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Research shows that strong mentoring systems are critical to the success of all online students. With this in mind, Michigan Virtual University® staff is building a statewide network of online mentors that strives to grow mentoring systems focused on continually expanding online learner success.

The professional learning team at MVU® is currently deploying three strategies to grow the statewide network: (1) establishing an online mentor community; (2) recruiting regional mentor leaders; and (3) scheduling face-to-face and virtual mentor events.

Online Mentor Community

MVU’s Online Mentor Community launched in December 2016 and has already grown to over 50 members. The community is a place for mentors to discuss mentoring issues, share resources, find events to attend, access the latest resources relevant to the mentoring role, and connect with regional mentor leaders.

Resources include publications and tools for:

  • Understanding the bigger picture – policy & research
  • Preparing online learners for success
  • Supporting parents of online learners
  • Supporting mentors of online learners
  • Supporting school and district leaders who are working to build online programs
  • Requesting peer coaching from a Regional Mentor Leader

To enroll in the Online Mentor Community or to request peer support, visit http://outreach.mivu.org/onlinementors/.

Regional Mentor Leaders

The first cohort of Regional Mentor Leaders includes 2016 MVU Mentors of the Year (Lynette Daig, Lyn DeCarlo and Julie Howe) and other mentors with a history of effective online student engagement.

The eight mentor leaders from around the state who comprise this cohort are available to provide peer coaching, are fueling online community activity and will be the hosts of 2017 face-to-face Mentor Site Institute events.

The eight 2017 Regional Mentor Leaders are:

1. Liz Schlenvogt – Escanaba High School
2. Lynette Daig – Brighton High School
3. Rebecca Jackson – Grand Ledge High School
4. MaryAnn Krzyminski – Ogemaw Heights High School
5. Lyn DeCarlo – Coopersville High School
6. Debbie Lynch – Williamston High School
7. Teresa Stringer – Sandusky Jr./Sr. High School
8. Julie Howe – Three Rivers High School

For more information about getting connected with a Regional Mentor Leader, contact me at .

Mentor Site Institutes

Mentor Site Institutes are designed for mentors of online learners or those interested in better understanding online mentoring systems. At these events, attendees will tap into and broaden a statewide network of mentors of online learners; these events are facilitated by MVU coaches at the home base of a Regional Mentor Leader.

Eight face-to-face events are scheduled between now and October. The objectives of the Mentor Site Institutes are to:

  • Examine an example of a mentoring system in action
  • Connect with mentoring peers around technical elements of the role as well as challenges to and strategies for ensuring online learner success
  • Reflect upon and refine a school’s online mentoring model
  • Expand mentor knowledge base around the role of developmental relationships in online learner success

The first Mentor Site Institute is scheduled for March 7 at Grand Ledge High School, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Participants will earn 5 SCECHs.

Future Events

March 22     Ogemaw Heights High School – Register now!
April 27       Coopersville High School – Register now!
May 2          Brighton High School – Register now!
May 10        Three Rivers High School – Register now!
Sept. 26      Williamston High School
Sept. 28      Escanaba High School
Early Oct.    Sandusky Jr./Sr. High School

Visit http://bit.ly/2lo8i6M to register for a Mentor Site Institute in your area. Registration for the September and October events will be open approximately two months before the event. If you’re interested in improving student success, join the Online Mentor Community, connect with your Regional Mentor Leader and sign up for a Mentor Site Institute in your region. Contact me at for more information.

1 Borup J. (2017). Helping online students be successful: mentor responsibilities. Lansing, MI: Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute. Retrieved from http://media.mivu.org/institute/PDF/helping-students- mentors-responsibilities.pdf


">Julia McBride (@julia_lesley): Professional Learning Coach with Michigan Virtual University®.