Citizens for Citizen Schools
Family and Friends,
Teaching has been an interest and passion of mine from a young age. As a result, my little sister Lana learned about everything from Reading and Music to Chinese culture. I loved to motivate her to strive for her best with “Quality Q’s” and “Sloppy S’s” for each of her assignments.
Years later I had my first experience working with under privileged students at a local elementary school in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and it began to shift my focus. Growing up at a private school, I had first-hand experience with excellent teachers and state-of-the-art facilities. Paired with the network of support of my parents and family members, I grew up believing that I had the world at my fingertips. Listening to third graders whisper vowel sounds as they tried to read basic novels was a reality check. I realized that not everyone received the kind of education that I had.
Over the next few years my belief that every student in the USA and the world deserved to experience quality teaching and receive a top quality education led me to work with students in a variety of settings. I saw students at summer art camps create near-life-size sculptures of their pets and beam with pride as their parents glimpsed their work for the first time. While studying abroad in Barcelona, Spain through a program at the University of Pennsylvania I watched as wide-eyed elementary students learned English. These experiences both at home and abroad paired with my early love of teaching inspired me to become a part of the Citizen Schools team. Together we seek to close the achievement gap in the US education system.
With my current role as a Citizen Schools Teaching Fellow, I have first-hand experience each day with a class of 16 eighth grade students. Thus far in the year I have worked with each of my students to help them apply to a high school that will prepare them for college. We work on setting goals and making them a reality. It has been so gratifying to hear students talk about whenthey will go to college and what they will study. I have seen each of my students grow and change over the past few months. One student especially has become so much more confident in herself because she is a part of Citizen Schools. Her teachers during the school day have commented to me that she really comes out of her shell during Citizen Schools. I am so happy to know that a program I work with helps to make students know that they are capable and that their voices deserve to be heard.
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.
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.
Citizen Schools participants had a 20% higher graduation rate than matched peers—71% vs. 59% (Boston Public Schools)
You can become a part of this national movement by supporting Citizen Schools through your donation today!
How will your donation make a difference?
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. Thank you for supporting a cause that makes an impact. Closing the achievement gap starts now and with the work of organizations such as Citizen Schools. Please let me know if you have any questions.