Growing up I always knew I would one way or another end up working in a school or have a career centered on educating others. After all, both of my parents are teachers. After graduating from Southwestern, I chose to become involved a national program called, Citizen Schools.
Citizen Schools partners with middle schools to expand the learning day for children in low-income communities across the country. Its model 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. Perhaps if students spent some of the remaining 80% of their day learning, the statistics around graduation rates and student success would improve.
On my campus I work Monday through Thursday with the 15 8th graders in our 8th grade academy program (8GA). 8th grade academy is a yearlong apprenticeship style course that exclusive for our 8th graders in Citizen Schools. 8th Grade Academy addresses the specific needs of students as they prepare for the transition to high school, college and future careers.
Apprenticeships Make Em’ Say WOW!
· Apprenticeships are 10-week classes led by professionals in the community.
· Student gain hands on experiences and explore real world career paths.
· The apprenticeships culminate into a WOW! an event where students show family, community members, and professionals in the field what they have learned.
Last semester, my 8th grade students completed a 10 week apprenticeship with me on essay writing. 8GA students will wrote at least two narrative essays. Students worked on the basics of writing as well as expressing personal opinions and ideas. They worked individually on their writing as well as with each other in the drafting, editing and revising of their essays. At the conclusion of the semester, 8th grade academy students developed a mini-magazine that included each of their essays, pictures and highlights from the semester.
This semester we will focus on college and career preparation. Students will participate in college visits to really being thinking about college and careers options for the future.
My 15 students in 8GA are a group of curious, future oriented and ambitious student leaders! It is my joy to work with them every day. I have included quotes from some of my students essays below. I hope you will be inspired to become a part of this national movement by supporting Citizen Schools through your donation today!
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)
Citizen Schools participants had a 20% higher graduation rate than matched peers—71% vs. 59% (Boston Public Schools)
"Someday I hope to make a change in my community. I like to help people with their situations and I really enjoy seing people happy...Before I leave this earth, I will make a difference in my community." -- Jamal
"Now that I'm in middle school and in a new school I'm starting to think of my future. I plan on graduating from high school and later I want to go to Harvard University." -- Milton
"I want to be a professional soccer player. If that does not work out, I want to become an engineer. I'm a really good player and I'm passionate about the game. I know that I can become anything I want because my mom believes in me. I believe that I will accomplish my goals." -- Jonathan
Supplying hands-on, engaging, and high quality education is only made possible by generous donors and supporters 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 much-needed mentor for our students here at Citizen Schools.
Thank You and I look forward
to any support that you can give!!!
I am a first year Teaching Fellow at Citizen Schools at Sharpstown International School in Houston, Texas. As a Teaching Fellow I am part of the second shift of educators at Sharpstown's Out of School Time Campus. I am also currently working towards my master’s in Education with support from Citizen Schools. http://www.citizenschools.org/