Cloud Coach Volunteer Resources

Strengthening student motivation to succeed in school and beyond.

Thank you for volunteering with Cloud Coach! With your help, we will reach our mission of serving all 4,000+ ninth-graders in the Minneapolis and St. Paul Public Schools. Throughout the program, you will be having conversations with your mentee to discuss topics including goal-setting, future career options, personal branding, and hobbies and interests. In addition, you will meet your mentee halfway through the program in person for a Cloud Summit.

Keep reading for resources, videos, conversation prompts, and more.

Developed in partnership with Search Institute, the Gateway Prompts are your guide as a mentor. Each week, they’ll walk you through the objective for the week, lead-in questions, and talking points for you to consider adding to make the conversation your own. We hope each will build off the last. The Gateway Prompts are emailed to you each week directly and include a link for you to send a message to your student. Here, you’ll find the full list of Gateway Prompts.

The Gateway Prompts that are emailed to you each week are for the main track, Track 2. This is designed for students in the academic middle.

If your student is an accelerated learner and your conversation gets ahead of the prompt for the week, consider switching to Track 3, designed for students who may benefit with a more in-depth conversation.

If your student is not sending you a message regularly, or if they are sending you messages but don’t seem interested in the Gateway Prompt discussion, consider following Track 1, designed for students who may or may not graduate high school or may just need extra support to develop a relationship.

You can move between the tracks at any time, switching it up as you get to know your student more.

The Mentor Guide is a written version of the video training that all mentors are expected to watch before connecting with their student. If you’d rather read the information instead of watch it, consider checking out the Mentor Guide which covers program objectives along with the rules, guidelines, and boundaries of the program. Learn more about how it all works, what the Cloud Summit is, and what the next steps are to prepare for your mentoring experience.

Have a question that wasn’t answered by the training video or mentor guide? Check out the Frequently Asked Questions which may help answer your question. We know that every connection with a student is different, and we may not have answered your question here. If you still haven’t gotten the answer you’re looking for, connect with your BestPrep Staff Coordinator who is ready to help with any questions or concerns you may have.

Here you will find advice and resources for making the most of your connection. For example, using Search Institute framework of “Ways to Build Developmental Relationships with Youth People,” BestPrep has created mentor tips to help you better connect to today’s high school student. Each week one of these tips is included in the Gateway Prompts email you receive. Click on the buttons below to access these resources.

See our library of videos below from Cloud Coach mentors.  They discuss what it is like to be a first-time mentor, how to engage with less engaged students, and how to make the most of this experience!

First-Time Mentor Tips:

Engaging Less Engaged Students:

Mentoring English Language Learners:

Caring for your Student:

Role as a Mentor:

General Advice:

Cloud Coach has had an incredible effect on Minneapolis and St. Paul students lives, and we aim to increase that impact year after year. To view a summary of this year’s program or to learn more about the data results, click the buttons below.


“The danger of a single story,” Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

“Getting Relationships Right,” Kent Pekel

MENTOR: Black Youth Town Hall

“I’m Mexican. Does that change your assumptions about me?”, Vanessa Vancour

“Rethinking thinking,” Trevor Maber

“My identity is a superpower – not an obstacle,” America Ferrera

“Critical Mentoring – Because Young People Deserve the Best of Us,” Torie Weiston-Serdan



  • Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo
  • Black Feminist Thought by Patricia Hill Collins
  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin
  • A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn
  • Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad
  • Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race by Beverley Daniel Tatum