Texas Tech University

 Bayless Elementary Mentoring Program

Thank you for your interest in the Bayless Elementary Mentoring Program. Honors College students in good standing are eligible to apply to serve as a Bayless mentor after completing their first semester in the Honors College.  Once applications are submitted, the applicant will be invited for an interview with the Bayless Mentoring Program Director and members of the Bayless Board.  The following preferred qualifications/attributes the ideal mentor should possess were compiled by the 2021-2022 Bayless Board.                                                                   

From Jacob Evans:

  • Ideally have some experience working with young students (not required, but preferred)
  • Demonstrate patience
  • Know how to handle sensitive issues that might require intervention
  • Be available to mentor once a week for an hour, with absences rare and excused (such as being sick)...we all have stressful weeks, but having an upcoming test and wanting to study for it is not fair to the Bayless kids
  • Have an ability to show excitement and interest in working with Bayless students
  • Be able to promptly respond to emails within at least 24 hours
     

From Max Rowley:

A few traits which have helped me as a mentor are good communication skills, dependability, and being able to listen to your mentee, and having the ability to connect with them.

Over the past two years of being a mentor at Bayless, I have had the opportunity to mentor two students (4th and 5th grade). During this time, I felt like I began to understand the importance of actively listening. In my experience, once the mentees get to know you and begin to start talking openly, it is very important to actively listen so the mentor can connect with the mentee. I feel this is important to have because it allows a friendship to be formed between the mentee and mentor.  This can also be related to having good communication skills.

Dependability is an important trait a mentor should possess. The mentees look forward to seeing the mentor each week. It is the mentor's responsibility to be at Bayless on time and to be prepared to talk with the mentee.  It is always important to watch the given video in advance or have some interesting topics in mind to talk about with the mentee.

 

From Erin Millican:

  • Must enjoy working with children. Experience working with children, from tutoring to babysitting even to taking care of a sibling, would be preferred. Most importantly, though, a Bayless mentor should be excited to work to make a difference in the lives of Bayless kids.  
  • Have a willingness to learn, self-evaluate, and improve. There are up weeks and down weeks as a mentor, and wanting to use the down weeks to become a better mentor is one key to success. 
  • Needs to be reliable. The commitment of a Bayless mentor is not a lot, but it is crucial mentors are available every week.  
  • Needs to have good communication skills, both with children and adults. Communication will help develop a strong and respectful relationship with mentees. Also, a mentor cannot be afraid to speak up if there is a time conflict. 
     

Bayless Elementary is resuming in-person mentoring beginning August 2021.  For more information and to apply, please contact Stacy Poteet, Program Director at stacy.poteet@ttu.edu.

Honors College Mentoring Program impacts hundreds of local elementary students

Find your own Calcutta –
Honors College Bayless Elementary Mentoring Program

In 2014, after Michael San Francisco was named Dean of the Texas Tech University Honors College, he spent many hours thinking of opportunities to engage Honors College students in the Lubbock community.

During this time he read a story of a young woman who had worked with Mother Teresa, and whose townspeople in the United States wanted to move to Calcutta and work alongside the patron saint to love and care for those persons society often overlooks. Mother Teresa responded by saying, “Stay where you are. Find your own Calcutta. Find the sick, the suffering, and the lonely right where you are – in your own homes and in your own families, in homes and in your workplaces and in your schools. You can find Calcutta all over the world, if you have eyes to see.”

Upon reading this quote, Dean San Francisco began reflecting on his involvement for a brief time as a volunteer at Bayless Elementary when he first moved to Lubbock in 1990, and suddenly he knew, Bayless is our Calcutta. He then, with Stacy Poteet approached the principal and reading intervention specialist at the elementary school and the Honors College Bayless Elementary Mentoring Program was born.

Bayless Elementary is a Title I school in the Lubbock Independent School District. The school has an approximate enrollment of 730 students with ninety-one percent of students qualifying for free or reduced lunch. Bayless faces several challenges, including a mobility rate of nearly thirty-three percent, as well as twenty-seven percent of the population identifying as at-risk. There are also several students each year identified as homeless. The purpose of the Bayless Mentoring program is to meet the needs of these students through the participation of the Honors College students, not only academically but as positive role models as well.

Dean San Francisco, Stacy Poteet, Lead Administrator of Honors scholarships, and ten Honors College students, selected as the Bayless Board, oversee the program and work directly with the Volunteer Coordinator at Bayless and the Bayless administration, collaborating to meet the needs of Bayless each year. Though mentoring is first priority, through the years, the Honors College has provided school supplies, teacher supplies, science fair poster boards, supplies for art projects, socks for the Honors College annual Socktober drive and hygiene products. In the spring of 2019, when a Bayless family lost their possessions in a house fire, students generously gave from their own wallets, donating $600 to be presented in the form of a gift card to the family.

Thirty students mentored during 2014-2015, the programs inaugural year. In the 2018-2019 academic year, over 100 Honors College students served as mentors at Bayless. Each Honors College mentor spends one class period each week with their mentee. Dean San Francisco and Stacy also mentor once a week. The program is only open to Honors College students and continues to grow each semester. The impact is being felt not only at Bayless but with the mentors as you can read below.

 

 

Bayless Reflection


Chad with Mentee

Being a part of the mentor program at Bayless Elementary has been the most rewarding volunteer experience I have had while at Texas Tech. My weekly trips to Bayless to hang out, help with schoolwork or play games with my student have become one of the best parts of my week. Seeing his face light up whenever he spots me never fails to fill me with happiness. Even though I only see my student once a week, I always leave with the feeling of accomplishment. Although we do not always do school work when I mentor, simply going and being able to be a role model and a system of support for my student is incredibly rewarding. Seeing my student and the struggles he goes through makes me want to give as much assistance to him as I can. He inspires me to accomplish all that I can so that I can be the best role model possible for him. Being a Bayless mentor and becoming close with a student has enhanced my college experience in a great way. It has opened my eyes to the inequity in my community as well as the power I have to decrease that inequity. I know that this program has not only helped the students at Bayless but has given me valuable experience as well.

— Lyndsey Walton

For more information on becoming a Bayless mentor,
please contact Stacy Poteet at stacy.poteet@ttu.edu