Middle School Programs

VARIETY of models

ASPIRE middle school sites typically look different than their high school counterparts. They usually meet more infrequently and have less one-on-one work with volunteers and coordinators. We've developed some suggested models for working with middle school students and getting them thinking about career and college readiness sooner rather than later:

Group Mentoring

In group mentoring, ASPIRE activities are delivered by volunteers or teachers in a classroom/workshop setting. Students complete college and career-focused activities with assistance from ASPIRE volunteers.

Special Events

Special events include volunteer-led presentations about college or career paths, job shadowing, and field trips to college campuses. Volunteers can lead or support these events by helping students think about how the experience affects they view their own future.

Peer Mentoring

High school students with solid experience in the ASPIRE program can help give back by volunteering at middle school sites. This model requires coordination between the high school and middle school coordinators. The high school students helping out must complete the necessary peer mentoring training as given by their site coordinator.

Student Activities

ASPIRE activities at middle schools will focus more on introducing the idea of college and career training, as well as some initial personal reflection. ASPIRE and our partners have great resources for programming. The lesson plans below vary in length, scope, and internal reflection. Use the program(s) that best fit your student population and available resources:

  • Developing a Student Portfolio
  • Career Interests
  • Volunteering
  • College Exploration

  • What's Different in Middle School?
  • Middle School Success
  • Goal Setting
  • Time Management
  • Ignoring Distractions

  • Identifying Values
  • Academic Goals & Motivation
  • Overcoming Changes & Challenges
  • Parent/Family Conversations

  • Additional offerings from ASPIRE partners

Volunteer & Staff Resources

Sites using a one-on-one or small group mentoring model can use trackers to make sure students are progressing through the curriculum. It also helps volunteers and staff get an idea of where each student's head is at when it comes to their future.

With a limited number of volunteers or time for individual mentoring, group discussion can be an invaluable resource. Learn more about facilitating discussion and getting students to share their ideas about post-middle school life with each other.