by Julie Dodd
JEA Mentoring Committee co-chair

Sunset on Kansas State campus. Photo by Judy Robinson

This evening JEA Mentoring Committee members Linda Barrington, Nick Ferentinos, Judy Robinson and I took a walk around the Kansas State campus. We’d spent most of the day getting to K-State. First, flying to the Kansas City airport and then driving about two hours to Manhattan — with JEA administrative staffer Pam Boeller at the wheel of the K-State van.

Linda, Nick, Judy and I are the training team for the fourth cohort of mentors to join the JEA Mentoring Program. The three-day training starts on Wednesday. The four of us will spend tomorrow preparing for the training and working on other mentoring committee issues.

As we walked on campus, I remembered my last time at K-State — July 2007, when the JEA board had a special meeting. It was at that meeting that Linda and I proposed the mentoring program — an idea that had evolved from the Scholastic Press Association Roundtable at the JEA/NSPA convention the previous April.

The board voted unanimously to support the program, including three years of funding (which was later expanded to six years of funding). By that fall, the first group of mentors had been selected and attended training in Philadelphia at the JEA/NSPA convention.

From the initial five states, the program has expanded to 16 states. By the end of the 2009-2010 school year, the mentors have worked with 119 new journalism teachers.

We are looking forward to seeing the program continue to grow.