Number of mentors jumps at five failing schools
Five failing schools in south St. Petersburg have seen a big increase this year in the number of people volunteering as mentors.
According to the Pinellas County School District, there were 256 mentors paired with students this year in Campbell Park, Fairmount Park, Lakewood, Maximo and Melrose elementaries, compared to 120 last year. That's more than double.
The five schools were at the heart of a yearlong Tampa Bay Times investigation, "Failure Factories," which showed how the school district abandoned integration efforts in 2007 and then failed to follow through with promised resources for schools that became predominantly poor and black. The schools have seen a revolving door of administrators and teachers in the years since; more than 100 teachers with 10 years or more experience fled the schools afterward.
So far, Melrose has the most mentors with 91 people volunteering, while Fairmount Park has the least with 23.
If you're interested in mentoring a student, please visit the district's website. Mentors must do a basic background check and attend a two-hour training session. Mentors visit students on campus and are not allowed to contact the student's family members. Most mentors visit their students for an hour or less each week.