James Bickley Elementary seeking mentors

Liliana Castillo

Jim and Carolyn Shipley started mentoring at James Bickley Elementary School three years ago.

The children keep them coming back.

“I enjoy seeing the lights come on in their eyes when they learn something,” Shipley said.

The Shipleys are two of the 27 volunteer mentors that provide one-on-one time for students who need extra work in reading, writing and critical thinking at James Bickley Elementary School.

The program, in its 14th year, is looking for 33 more mentors at least for this year. Teacher Theresa Span, who runs the program, said there are 75 students that are identified for the program and 15 on the waiting list.

Span said students are tested at the beginning of the year and teachers send a list of students that may need help reading at grade level. Then the mentoring program tests the students to confirm the need.

Span said mentors have a folder ready for them with the lesson their students needs and instructions on how to teach it.

“They do things teachers can’t do one-on-one in the classroom,” Span said. “Each child learns differently.”

Span said mentors don’t need to have a degree.

“We keep the same mentor with the same child. You will know your student doesn’t like to read or likes a certain kind of game,” she said.

Carolyn Shipley said she enjoys working with children.

“They are excited to come in and work with you,” she said. “It is a very good feeling all the way around.”

Jim Shipley said the couple enjoys giving something back.

The program is paid for by Title I money which comes from the No Child Left Behind Act. Title I money is used to improve the academic achievement of the disadvantaged.

To volunteer, contact Theresa Span at 749-3941.