by Peggy Gregory
It flows down the middle of the page so simply, and, in fact, it is only one page long. But the agenda for the upcoming Mentor Forum at the Journalism Education Association/National Scholastic Press Association convention in Portland is deceptive in its simplicity.
The document has included detailed discussions by the Mentor Committee members, input from mentors and scores of e-mails back and forth.
Bill Flechtner, a committee member and mentor from Portland who coordinates mentor-led sessions at all the conventions, first prodded the mentor committee into action soon after the winter holidays.
From there it was an e-mail on the listserv to the mentors who would be attending the convention about their needs and wishes for the upcoming session.
I re-published feedback from the Washington, DC, forum to refresh memories and begin a potential list of sessions.
Co-chairs Julie Dodd and Linda Barrington brainstormed during their regular phone meetings and sent their ideas including a presentation by Randy Swikle, representing the JEA Student Press Rights Commission.
Nick Ferentinos reminded the team of the necessary mentoring skills needed from his experience with the New Teacher Center and began the narrowing process.
And so it progressed — back and forth.
Questions about what would best serve the mentors:
How can the mentee panel be included?
Where can we provide time for the creation of the much-requested Mentor Handbook?
Yes, the session by Randy Swikle must be included as mentors have requested updates on First Amendment rights.
Room availability and time for the mentee panel became an issue and was solved. Times were adjusted. The agenda was sent and refined and resent several times.
Then, the final agenda.
Yes, everyone approved.
Yes, it was our best product for the most people.
Yes, we might even adjust it once more time when we get to the convention.
Yes, let’s publish it for the mentors.