Today was our fourth "pair event" with the iMentor program at James Lick High School in San Jose. Every time we have one of these events, I grow a little bit. I get exposed to different things, things outside my usual sphere of existence, and things slightly outside my comfort zone.
Tonight, we mentors got to see our mentees' unofficial transcripts. I'm not sure I've seen such dismal report cards or such low GPAs. I've heard of them, but this was for real. It wasn't just my mentee's stats, but many of the other mentors were sharing a very similar story. Mostly, the male mentors, who have male mentees, were reporting what I was seeing with my own charge.
And today, the goal in mind shifted tectonically. No longer does the medium term goal include getting this high school junior into college. It has urgently moved to that of the first goal he listed when we first met back in November: to graduate high school. A school counselor tonight explained to us mentors how to read the transcripts and provided ideas on how to help the students get to graduation. The GPA along doesn't seem to matter too much toward the goal of getting a diploma. What really matters is how many credits they have earned. Failing grades in classes earn no credits.
Since there is another half of the second semester left of his junior year of high school, there is still time. If he were to pass all his classes next year, he could graduate. However, given his history, that's a tall order, and that's cutting it way too close. I see summer school. I see seven periods next year. I also see no sports, which should be the rule since the counselor, as a response to my question, stated that the student may have no F's and at least a 2.0 GPA to be involved with sports. That's a good thing for him, though he won't see it that way.
It's time to get serious. Clock's a-ticking and we have work to do.