ISM Memorandum of Understanding – SF
In School Mentoring Memorandum of Understanding
It is agreed that Big Brothers Big Sisters of Waterloo Region (BBBSWR) and WRDSB School will be partners in the In–School Mentoring (ISM) program as developed by BBBSWR. This agreement shall begin on the dates signed below and continue until such time that either partner gives two (2) months written notice of their desire to withdraw from the partnership. This agreement outlines the respective responsibilities of the School and BBBSWR for this program. The Memorandum of Understanding will be reviewed at the time of re–introduction of ISM into the School. Any changes will be indicated by a written amendment that is signed by both partners and attached to the original agreement.
In–School Mentoring provides elementary students who could benefit from extra social, emotional or academic support, with an adult Big Brother or Big Sister (Mentor). The Mentor and student (Mentee) meet in the School, during School hours, for one hour per week. This program is designed to help children gain confidence, improve their skills and assist them in reaching their potential. The Mentors are caring, supportive, and non–judgmental, with a keen interest in the welfare of young people. The Mentor’s role is to be a positive role model, a friend, a listener, a limit setter, a resource and guide. The Mentor does not take on the role of counsellor, teacher, parent or authority figure. All Mentors are screened in accordance with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada National Standards.
All children who participate in BBBSWR programs must have participated in Pre–Match Training. This training has three primary purposes, to: prepare match participants for their role in a healthy, successful mentoring relationship; illuminate safety issues and strategies; and emphasize that resources and ongoing support will be available to all match participants. A BBBSWR Program Coordinator will deliver this training as required. In
extenuating circumstances, the school may be asked to complete Pre–Match Training with a mentee using the materials provided by BBBSWR prior to program start. In this instance, the school staff member facilitating the training will be asked to sign off noting that the training has occurred.
Virtual Programming Amendment
Should schools close, or there come a time when volunteers would not be allowed access to the school, to manage the risk of contracting and spreading the Coronavirus disease (COVID–19), BBBSWR will be offering virtual programming for ISM matches. In this case, the Mentor and Mentee meet virtually, during school hours (where applicable), for one hour per week.
The following amendments will remain in effect until the WRDSB allows external service providers to enter the schools and so long as the BBBS Mentor and the mentee’s parent/guardian are comfortable to resume the match on an in person basis.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Waterloo Region will obtain written parental consent to allow mentors to contact mentees virtually (through a WRDSB approved platform), by email, or by phone (calls and text) for the duration of the school year. This will only occur in matches where we have both parental and volunteer written consent for this form of contact. Once schools resume normal operations, the expectation is that this form of virtual contact will cease and matches would resume in person match visits at the school, so long as all parties are comfortable to resume in person match meetings.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE SCHOOL AND BBBSWR
Before program start, the School will:
1. Appoint a School Liaison (SL) who will be responsible for coordinating the program within the School (where applicable). They will be the primary contact person for: the ISM Program Coordinator at BBBSWR, the Mentors, the Mentees participating in the program, and the parents/guardians and teachers of the Mentees;
2. Be responsible for pre–screening the Mentees. This includes determining which children will be suitable for the program based on information provided by BBBSWR, and completing a referral form provided by BBBSWR. All forms must be completed in full and submitted to BBBSWR before a match can commence;
3. Obtain signed parent/guardian Permission Form and Child Information form and provide BBBSWR with a copy;
4. For children who have previously participated in the program, the SL will re–assess the Mentees at the start of each new school year to determine suitability for the program. This includes discussions with the Mentee, the teacher and parent/guardian (if applicable). If the child is found to be suitable to continue their participation in the program, the SL will compile the requested information in the ISM Re–Referral chart and will submit it to BBBSWR before a match can commence. The original consent form and referral form that were submitted for these students will remain in effect until such time that: 1) The child is no longer interested in participating in the program 2) The parent/guardian withdraws the child from the program 3)
The school is no longer interested in having the child participate in the program or 4) The child graduates from Grade eight;
5. Instruct the SL to engage with parent(s)/guardian(s) to explain the program and solicit their co–operation and support;
6. Be the parents’/guardians’ primary contact for the ISM program. The ISM Program Coordinator shall be brought in for consultation when necessary; and
7. Designate a physical environment(s) on school property (where applicable) where Mentors and Mentees can meet virtually, using an approved device and social platform means.
Before program start, BBBSWR will:
1. Recruit, screen and train all Mentors in accordance with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada National Standards; and
2. Provide all forms needed to implement the program including: Referral forms, parent/guardian Permission forms, Child Information forms and general program information.
At program start, the School will:
1. Ensure a school staff member completes a Student Referral Form for each new student (indicating the reason for referral and best mentoring times) which is then attached to the signed parent/guardian Permission form and Child Information form. For returning students, the SL will compile the requested information in the ISM Re–Referral chart. The SL will submit all forms to the BBBSWR ISM Coordinator; and
2. Notify the Mentee’s parent/guardian about the Mentee’s match status (if appropriate).
At program start, BBBSWR will:
1. Ensure that the ISM Program Coordinator facilitates a match meeting with the Mentee’s teacher (and/or the SL) and the Mentor at a pre–arranged time, via social platform or phone, to discuss the details of the match (including best practices when meeting virtually). The ISM Program Coordinator will introduce the Mentor to the Mentee at this meeting or where suitable will complete the introduction prior to the first virtual match visit; and
2. Be available to the Mentors and/or the School should problems or questions arise.
During the program, the School Liaison will:
1. When possible, notify the Mentor in advance if the Mentee is away;
2. When possible, notify the ISM Program Coordinator when a Mentor misses an appointment without notice;
3. Openly discuss ongoing successes and concerns regarding the Mentor and Mentee’s match with BBBSWR;
4. Maintain communication with the School personnel regarding the successes and challenges of the match relationships;
5. Inform the School designate (i.e. classroom teacher whose Mentee is participating in ISM program) when a Mentor is no longer able to continue with their match;
6. Encourage the continuation of match relationships at new schools when Mentees change schools;
7. Ensure all match information on file adheres to all privacy legislation;
8. Check–in with Mentors regarding any successes and concerns regarding the match (where possible);
9. Check–in with Mentees regarding their match and observe the Mentee’s reaction when returning from meeting with his/her Mentor; and
10. Support and reinforce the rules and limits of the program, as set out by the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada National Standards. Specifically, the Mentee and Mentor cannot, under any circumstances, have any contact (including but not limited to in person, phone, email or social media) outside of their virtual match visits (this includes summer months). ISM Mentors and Mentees will not be invited to attend any events sponsored by BBBSWR as a match.
During the program, BBBSWR will:
1. Have regular supervisory contact (at least 3 times) with each Mentor through phone, email and virtual platforms throughout the duration of the match;
2. Visit the Mentor and Mentee during their in–school meeting to observe and monitor the match relationship (where possible and should schools re–open for in person match visits during the current school year);
3. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Waterloo Region will be responsible for completing all match monitoring contacts, as per Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada National Standards with mentors, mentees and/or parent/guardians;
4. Provide all Mentors with ongoing access to their ISM Program Coordinator;
5. Ensure that ISM Program Coordinators will be available, upon request, to meet with parents/guardians (by telephone or virtually) to answer questions and provide information about the programs, however, the School will be the parent’s/guardian’s primary contact; and
6. Keep a confidential file for each Mentor.
At program end, the School will:
1. Participate in the evaluation of the program at the completion of every match. This process and all forms will be provided by BBBSWR;
2. Ensure that teachers complete the mandatory year end evaluation form, so outcomes of the program maybe measured; and
3. Ensure that the Mentee, the Mentee’s teacher and the Mentee’s parent/guardian (if appropriate) are notified of the match closure. This includes distributing the Match Termination Letter (letters provided by BBBSWR and addressed to the Mentee and their parent/guardian) to the Mentee (or their parent/guardian) within two weeks of match closure (if requested by BBBSWR).
At program end, BBBSWR will:
1. Conduct an evaluation of the program and provide the School with a summary of the results of that evaluation upon request; and
2. Deliver a Match Termination Letter to the parent/guardian within two weeks of match closure to confirm the closure of the match. Alternatively, BBBSWR will provide the SL with a Match Termination Letter (addressed to the Mentee and their parent/guardian) to be distributed to the Mentee (and/or parent/guardian) confirming the closure of the match. This letter will be provided to the SL within two weeks of match closure and will be signed by a BBBSWR Program Coordinator.
1. Both BBBSWR and the School shall provide insurance for the ISM program. Both BBBSWR and the School also agree to maintain valid and in–force, a policy or policies of liability insurance;
2. Both BBBSWR and the School agree to inform each other in advance of any ISM program communication related to the media;
3. Both BBBSWR and the School will support volunteer recognition;
4. Should the Mentee disclose any abusive experience to the Mentor, the School or BBBSWR (the recipient of notification) will deal with the disclosure according to their respective policies and will provide support to the Mentor. If deemed appropriate by Family and Children’s Services, parties may inform each other of the report; and
5. Each party shall notify the other of match closure or any other changes in match status