South Dakota School Counselor Association Mentoring Program

The goal of the mentoring program is to provide new school counselors with the opportunity to have a meaningful relationship with experienced school counseling professionals for a two-year period.  As graduate students and new school counselors transition into the field, mentors will offer:

  1. Personal and professional development.
  2. Social support.
  3. Career guidance.
  4. Resource/idea sharing.
  5. A sounding board.

As a result of the mentor relationship, both mentors and mentees will develop a deeper dedication to the field of professional school counseling.

The role of a mentor is to coach, guide, nurture and support new counselors as they transition into this field.  A mentor provides support, encourages development, offers suggestions and advice on a variety of topics, and shares resources.  A mentor also shares experiences and wisdom to help mentees grow personally and professionally.

The mentee is a school counselor who is in his/her first three years of counseling.  A mentee is devoted to developing skills, enhancing professional networks, and increasing his/her understanding of the role of a professional school counselor.  A mentee should be positive and excited about the mentoring program and put forth the effort required to receive maximum results, ensuring the program is a success.

The amount of time invested in the mentoring relationship depends solely on the expectations set by both the mentor and mentee.  We ask that mentors and mentees be in contact at least twice a month during their time in the mentoring program; however, this can come in the form of face-to-face meetings, phone calls, or e-mail. 

School counselors interested in participating in the program should fill out a Mentee Application or Mentor Application.  Participants are matched on the basis of geographic location and their responses to questions focusing on school counseling experience and level, background information, etc.  Mentors and mentees will be notified of their pairing at which time they will receive a copy of the mentoring handbook and contact information.

The mentor should initiate the first contact.  When mentors receive their letters of acceptance, they will receive the name and contact information for the mentee. They will be asked to call the mentee within the first 3 weeks of school.  Mentors and mentees may choose to meet in person. 

Mentoring activities may include (but are not limited to):

  • Attending professional conferences/development activities together,
  • Sharing resources and insights,
  • Career path discussions,
  • Calendar and deadline information,
  • Meeting for coffee/lunch when available,
  • Sending motivational/inspirational stories, etc.

Participants in the mentoring program will be asked to complete an evaluation each year.  Success of the program will be monitored based on the feedback received from mentors and mentees.  Continual improvements and modifications will be made based on suggestions and comments provided by the participants.

Although we only ask mentors and mentees to make a two-year commitment to the SDSCA Mentoring Program, we encourage ongoing communication and support beyond the one-year commitment and throughout their professional career.

If you are an experienced counselor who would like to serve as a mentor, click here to download the Mentor Application.

If you are a new counselor (0-3 years) who would like to work with a mentor, click here to download the Mentee Application.