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$25,000
goal
$6,745
Raised so far

27 % to goal

Citizen Schools

Citizen Schools California

Donations as of December 22, 2014:

$1,000.00 Raised Offline
$5,744.85 Raised Online
$6,744.85 Total Raised

Citizen Schools v. The Achievement Gap (2012)

So what, exactly, motivates a busy law firm partner to push pause on the billable hour clock and become a "Citizen Teacher" - coaching mock trial apprenticeship for middle school kids once a week for 10 weeks? Not once or twice, but over and over again, semester after semester, five years in a row?

The answer is Eddie, a shy English language learner who rarely spoke up in class.

Over the course of the semester, practicing direct and cross examinations, Eddie began to find his voice. He gained confidence in his power to speak in front of a crowd, to think on his feet.

After a couple of months, the 15 students in Eddie’s Citizen Schools mock trial team were ready for their WOW! – their day in court. Every mock trial apprenticeship – be it mock trial, robotics or poetry slam – ends in a WOW!

We call it a WOW! because when middle school kids teach back to their families and others the amazing things they learned at Citizen Schools, we think the adults in the room will say “wow!”

Anyway, Eddie and his classmates were ready for their WOW! At Citizen Schools, the mock trial WOW! is held in a real court, the San Mateo County Court, in front of a real judge, wearing, as far as we know, real robes.

In the jury box would be a dozen adult strangers. And in the stand would be a hostile witness.

The Citizen Teacher teaching Eddie's apprenticeship recruited the witness from among his law partners. When the witness was memorizing his lines, the Citizen Teacher cornered him and said, “Listen, take it easy on the kid, OK? He’s just a middle school boy. He’s shy. No wise cracks.”

But when the time came for Eddie’s cross examination, he started haltingly. At one point he got tripped up and asked a compound question. The witness peered at Eddie, cocked his head, and hissed, “Which one of those four questions do you want me to answer?

Eddie blinked.

He stared down at his paper.

Everyone fell silent. Then Eddie looked up at the witnessed, drew in a deep breath, and pointing his hand like Perry Mason he bellowed: “I want you to answer ALL FOUR OF THEM!” 

That moment is what Citizen Schools is all about. We make learning exciting and give low-income middle school kids a glimpse of the power they could have if they stay in school. Partnering with middle schools to expand the learning day, we mobilize "citizen" educators to work with students to improve achievement. Our full-time teaching staff develops in students the academic and leadership skills needed to succeed in middle school, graduate from high school, and access college and career opportunity. Our volunteers teach hands-on, project-based apprenticeship courses, transforming the traditional public school afternoon into a time of discovery and achievement.

The result? A serious assault on the achievement gap. Independent evaluations show our students are dramatically more likely to graduate from high school than carefully matched comparison groups. Other two thirds of our students see their grades improve (or they maintain an A/B average). Proficieny rates in English, math and science have doubled or more.

Will you support our work?

Supporters

Comment Donation
Mark Lemley
$100.00
Jonathan Graham
$50.00
Dan Shih
$50.00
Elizabeth Pederson
$50.00
Daniel Morales
$50.00
Steve & Madalyn Fliesler keep up the great work, Joe! proud of you.
$50.00
The Middleton Family
$100.00
Tom Adams
$1,000.00*
Nick Tuosto Great work!!
$100.00
Barry Kendall Onwards and upwards!
$25.00
Kate Stahnke Really exciting work Joe!!
$20.00
Dean Fealk Go Citizen Schools -- Go Joe Ross!
$50.00
Randy Pond
$1,000.00
Jared
$50.00
The Lipp Family
$100.00
Ron Turiello and Margret Caruso Keep up the good work!
$500.00
Bill Beer Great work Joe...keep it up
$250.00
Anonymous I've asked my coworkers to join me in donating.
$50.00
Gordon Strause go Joe!
$100.00
Anonymous
$50.00
Jose M. Joe- keep up the great work !!
$56.00
Michael Kleinman
$25.00
Paul Leaf Keep up the great work, Joe.
$50.00
Nick Shalek Nice work Joe!
$50.00
Gil Penchina Thanks for doing this Joe
$250.00
Amy Hertel Look out, achievement gap!
$50.00
Steven Herman
$20.00
Anonymous
$50.00
Steve Dostart & Sharon Meers Happy to support you Joe
$1,000.00
Ariel Braunstein Go Joe!
$100.00
Becky Crowe
$35.00
Andy Freed
$100.00
Anonymous Glad to support this worthy effort, Joe.
$53.85
Jim Day
$50.00
Julia Powell Go Joe Ross!
$20.00
Brandon
$50.00
Oscar Arguelles Joe, this is amazing!
$50.00
Noah Richmond A great and worthy effort!
$50.00
Dan Bromberg
$250.00
Raoul Bhavnani Go Joe!
$50.00
Aden Pavkov Joe, looks like a really great program
$250.00
Alexis Ringwald Inspiring!
$20.00
Anonymous
$20.00
Benjamin Longstreth
$150.00
Ben Knelman
$100.00
James Go Citizen Schools!
$100.00

Donation Summary

Raised Offline
$1,000
Raised Online
$5,745
Total Raised
$6,745