Everyone agrees change is needed in the U.S. education system; the challenge is finding change that works. How does Citizen Schools work? It's all about finding people committed to the educational success of our youth and bringing them together to make change.
And this includes you.
Last year, I shared a story of teaching a theatrical set design apprenticeship to a group of middle-school students particpating in the Citizen Schools program. Since then, I've had countless moments witnessing continued student successes across the country. Citizen Schools gets results: connecting classroom skills to opportunities and careers in the real world is a critical bridge to help our youth understand the value of education.
Earlier this academic year, Citizen Schools came to the Garfield Middle School in Revere, MA. At the end of the first semester of running our program there, I attended the celebratory WOW! event where parents, volunteer Citizen Teachers, and school staff come together to recognize the accomplishments of the students. In a room buzzing with excitement, there were student presentations on life on Mars, fully-detailed architectural models of a subway station redesign, speeches on saving our oceans from pollution, and posters telling you about the dangers of high-fructose corn syrup in your soda drink. These students were bursting with enthusiam, eager to share with everyone just how much they had learned in their apprenticeships.
The event wrapped up with everyone in the school auditorium, and principal Patricia Massa addressed the hundreds of people in the audience, including Revere's school superindendent, state representative, mayor, and several City Councilors. In her 12 years of working at the Garfield, Principal Massa had never seen so many families in the school building! She was beaming with amazement and genuinely moved at the level of engagement achieved in just four short months.
With the current administration's focus on identifying innovative and proven education initiatives, I am excited for what the future holds for Citizen Schools. Because we're not just talking about changing individual student's lives: we're changing entire schools.
I encourage you to show your support of educational opportunities for today's youth by making a donation below, and join Citizen Schools as we work to expand the learning day for low-income children across the country.
- Eric Whitney