Texas Tech University

College of Ed connects with school mentoring programs

Robert Stein

December 11, 2019

Laura Bush Middle School Principal Edna Parr posing with Macey Waid, a Texas Tech University teacher candidate and mentor

The College of Education joined with Lubbock-area schools to support ongoing student mentoring programs.

Worrying about school violence. Battling substance abuse, depression and anxiety. Navigating the world of social media and relationships.

Children today face a myriad of challenges at school. That's why Texas Tech University's College of Education has recently partnered with Lubbock school districts to support ongoing mentoring programs for students.

Starting this fall, students, faculty and staff from the College of Education have been bringing counseling expertise and helping hands to Frenship and Lubbock-Cooper Independent School Districts (ISDs). Their goal: help provide students with more opportunities to build relationships – both with peers and adults.

Bret Hendricks
Bret Hendricks

"Relationships change everything," said Bret Hendricks, a professor of counselor education and associate dean at the College of Education. "The ability to have a positive, healthy relationship with a human being changes your life, and kids are not getting enough opportunities to have those kinds of relationships in the school environment."

Texas Tech started partnering with Frenship ISD in the fall to support an existing mentoring program at the district called Next Level. The program gives a group of students a safe space outside of class to meet and talk with teachers, administrators and each other.

Hendricks, who is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Texas, introduced music techniques used in counseling to help people tune into their feelings and express themselves. Also involved is a graduate student licensed as a chemical dependency counselor who provides free counseling services. The college plans to involve more students from its Counselor Education program in the future, Hendricks said.

At Lubbock-Cooper ISD, student teachers in Texas Tech's TechTeach educator preparation program have joined on as mentors to help expand the school district's successful Anchor Mentor Program.

The Texas Tech students serve as part of their selection for the Charles Butt Scholarship for Aspiring Teachers from Raise Your Hand Texas, and they receive training from faculty in the Counselor Education program before pairing with students.

Research shows that positive relationships can improve student engagement and retention while decreasing anxiety and depression, Hendricks said, "but partnering with Lubbock schools has been a two-way street of transformation."

"It has changed us," Hendricks said. "The adults support the kids. The kids support the adults. We leave there after having real communication, and it's fulfilling."