— Toni Morrison
I became a Teaching Fellow with Citizen Schools because I had a passion, and most importantly, an obligation to help students from low-income areas achieve upward mobility. Despite the fact that my students are from disadvantaged backgrounds, they have the right to receive a quality education; they should not be deprived of an equal opportunity to be successful because of economic circumstances beyond their control. In the 21st century, education is critical for students to overcome financial barricades and be equipped with the knowledge, confidence and determination necessary to advance.
Citizen Schools is an organization that takes a proactive approach to closing the achievement gap and exposing students to a culture of accomplishment. It is based on the idea that learning should not be limited to the traditional school day. Children spend just 20 percent of their waking hours in school, but a child’s capacity to learn doesn’t end with the final bell. Citizen Schools aims to expand the learning day giving students access to:
· More time
· More hands-on, relevant learning
· More caring adults.
One of the most exciting aspects of Citizen Schools is apprenticeships. Apprenticeships are a chance for students to gain exposure to various skills and career paths by professionals in the community. This is an active learning opportunity for students to go, firsthand, on a journey of discovery with expert volunteers, known as Citizen Teachers. Some examples of apprenticeships from last semester include Italian Cooking, Solar Cars, Theatre and Medical School.
Last semester I worked with the Comic Book Design apprenticeship in which students learned about the world of graphic art. Over the course of 10 weeks, apprentices fine-tuned their story-telling skills and created their own comic books. Each week students delved deeper into the mechanics of comic book design in which they learned how to brainstorm ideas, develop characters and sequence events. Working with a professional artist permitted my students to connect the things that they learned in their classes to real-life opportunities.
STUDENTS WE SERVE
· In 2009-2010, 76% of Citizen Schools' students were eligible for free or reduced price lunch.
· The majority of students identified as Latino or African American.
· Over 33% of participants spoke a primary language other than English at home.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan issued this statement:
“Today’s report confirms that our nation faces a dropout crisis. When 25 percent of our students – and almost 40 percent of our black and Hispanic students – fail to graduate high school on time, we know that too many of our schools are failing to offer their students a world-class education.” (AJC, June 2010)
I recognize that my ability to make an impact is made possible by donors and supporters just like you who believe in the Citizen Schools mission and model. I am thankful to these supporters for giving me the opportunity to make an impact and be a mentor and source of support for our students here at Citizen Schools. You can become a part of this national movement to educate youth and strengthen communities by supporting Citizen Schools through your donation today!
What does your money help us do?
· $15 provides one month of materials for students to complete high quality academic homework during our structured homework time. (Notebooks, agendas, pencils, pens, etc)
· $20 provides one month of supplies for our CHOICE time activities where students play sports, do art projects, learn yoga, or bake in cooking class.
· $80 provides one semester of extra support for one apprenticeship team. An apprenticeship is a focused learning time between 15 students and a community volunteer with a professional skill to share. Students in the Green Teens Apprenticeship learned about sustainable and organic gardening from a Science teacher at Jane Long.
· $250 provides the support for one Team Leader to sponsor a special event for our families such as a potluck, WOW showcase (the end-of-the-year Apprenticeship fair), Parent Literacy events, or to secure a bus for an exploration (field trip) to a local College.
Please let me know if I can answer any questions or if you would like suggestions on the amount/type of donation that you can make.
Thank You and I look forward to any support that you can give!!!
If you would like to learn more about Citizen Schools please visit our website: