This project, run by the Hamburg School Authority and a private agency is financed by the School Authority, the Ministry for Urban Development and Housing and the European Social Fund. 27 primary and secondary schools, mainly situated on the Elbe Islands and the Eastern districts of the city, take part in the project that started in April 2014.
The main goal of the project is to establish a mentoring system in the 27 participating schools. Three kinds of mentoring activities can take place:
- Parental Mentoring, mainly „embedded“ in (if possible already existing) easily accessible activities, e.g. in „Parental Cafés“, parent meetings, handicraft work afternoons or school festivities
- Student Mentoring , mainly in tandems (older student = mentor + younger student = mentee) within fixed timeslots, e.g. once per week during the lunch break
- Mentoring by External Volunteers, also mainly in tandems (volunteer + student); organization in cooperation with existing mentoring agencies.
Each school can choose what kind of mentoring they need for their students and their parents.
Mentors receive special training, according to the school’s respective needs and particular challenges. Contents of the training are, for example: information on the educational system in Hamburg (from kindergarden to vocational training or university), counselling structures available in the neighborhood, specific information about the school the mentors belong to. The training is run by KWB e.V., a private agency with substantial experience in training adults and students.
While the mentors are trained by KWB, the school authority offers special courses for the teachers that are responsible for the project in the participating schools. The so called “school coordinators” are in charge of the implementation of the project at their school, gather mentors, develop possible tasks for them and act as contact persons for questions concerning the project. To be able to successfully run the project, they receive training in areas like project management, intercultural communication, negotiation and motivation or cooperation in the neighborhood. Regular meetings with all 27 coordinators and the project management team help to develop strategies to implement new structures in schools and serve as panel for discussion. Good practice tips can be shared and new ideas are debated within the group.
The shared responsibility for the project and the flexibility that schools are given within it lead to a great success in the first year:
- About 150 parents have been trained, “parental cafés” have been established and provide information on topics like: transition from primary to secondary school, councelling possibilities, activities outside school or participation opportunities for parents in school. Parents offer translation support and are also available during regular school-activities, like first day at school, open house or registration week.
- More than 120 students have been trained. Various activities, depending on the age of the students, have been established. Student mentoring in primary school covers areas like: How does our school work? How do I pack my schoolbag? Which learning techniques can I use? In secondary school it is mostly about working on specific subjects or strengthening the knowledge about requirements for a successful vocational training. The students mostly work in tandems with fixed time slots once or twice a week.
- Cooperations with external volunteers are established in some schools. The external volunteers work in three key areas: Literacy Coaching, Personality Coaching and Vocational Coaching. Each school has designed a special program together with the volunteers and is constantly developing it further, according to the respective needs.
In order to further structure the progress of the project, detailed target agreements for the upcoming school year are negotiated with all participating schools. Seminars and penals take place with school management and administration to further implement the project structure in the 27 schools. Public relations within the schools are strengthened and a set of best practice examples is developed. Thus the project is able to transfer know-how to schools that are not part of the project – either in Hamburg, all over Germany or in other European Countries.
For more information on the project please contact Eric Vaccaro (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Jessica Kratt (email@example.com).