District State: Texas
District Website: http://www.pearlandisd.org/
In 2014-15, Pearland ISD administrators and board members raised mental health concerns after three unrelated student suicides occurred within five months in the district.
Superintendent John Kelly implemented a districtwide mentoring program to provide a safe place for students to share their concerns and personal challenges.
Established in fall 2015, RISE Mentoring is a school-based program in which committed, caring adults from the community help students rise above obstacles and succeed in school and life.
With parent permission, students are selected to participate based on teacher and counselor recommendations. After a background check and training, RISE mentors meet with their assigned student at school for 30 minutes per week for the entire school year.
Program coordinators match students with mentors only if personality needs and/or interests fit. Mentors include local bankers, bus drivers, law enforcement officers and retirees.
While it is still too early to determine the impact of mentoring on student grades, discipline and attendance, RISE Mentoring has succeeded in establishing 190 matches, with many mentors planning to continue meeting with their students into 2016-17.