E-College Mentoring

E-college is an eight week high school curriculum for high school students with disabilities. It is designed to provide college bound students with the skills and knowledge necessary to successfully meet their post secondary education goals.  A unique and powerful feature of this program is that student learning is reinforced through email mentoring with a successful college student who also has a disability.

The curriculum seeks to make students aware of the vast difference between high school and college and provides them with methods of dealing with those differences.  It promotes the development of skills in high school that will translate in to success in college as well as self and disability awareness and the development of strong self-advocacy skills.

E-College was developed as a collaborative effort by Georgia Robillard, Disability Services Coordinator, Lake Superior College and Sara Romagnoli, Pathways to Employment & Employment Policy Consultant, Minnesota Department of Human Services, and Steve Schoenbauer, Transition Coordinator, Northern Lights Sped Cooperative. It is the culmination of multiple activities and publications designed to prepare high school students with disabilities for the rigor of post secondary education.

The curriculum is free to any educational organization, but does require that high school special education teachers and college disabilities coordinators work together. The curriculum is provided to each teacher and a parallel guide is provided to each mentor. The teacher is free to use any combination of activities or to create his/her own in order to facilitate classroom discussion and student engagement. Each week, students will send an e-mail to their mentor for the sharing of experiences and information. Guided questions are provided to assist students who are unsure of what to ask or say.  College disabilities coordinators recruit suitable mentors and help in the matching to mentee process. Here is what one E-college mentor said about the program:

To be able to mentor someone with something you have already gone through and to be-able to share with them the tricks, techniques or things we have learned to make success easier is rewarding. We were not only a blessing to the mentees that we mentored, but they blessed us right back by opening up to us and asking us questions to give them a clearer picture of what college is like. I hope that E-college can be spread across the nation and that Lake Superior College continues to do it! It was a great success! Thank you for the chance to mentor!

Georgia, Sara, and Steve are presenting this project at the Fall MnSCU Disability Coordinators Meeting at Metro State and also at the 2012 Minnesota Administration for Special Education Fall Leadership Conference with hopes of getting other high schools and college campuses involved.

Contact:  Erica Baker, e.baker@lsc.edu

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