- 2 days ago
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We are always happy to see a longer school day featured in the news, such as in today’s piece by Scot Lehigh. But too often these articles don’t tell the full story.
Lehigh describes Expanded Learning Time in terms of three basic models, each of which are based on different ways of paying teachers for the extra time. However, Lehigh doesn’t consider a fourth model – partnerships between schools and non-profit organizations, including Citizen Schools, with a proven track record of improving student outcomes without overworking teachers.
- 5 days ago
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The best job you can get after college is serving as an AmeriCorps Teaching Fellow with Citizen Schools. As a Teaching Fellow alumna, I can say this from experience: this work is challenging, rewarding, and totally awesome. With help from my fellow Difference Makers from all over the country I will tell you why…
- 6 days ago
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CONTACT: Holly Trippett, Citizen Schools, 617-695-2300 x1161 or 301-452-3904, email@example.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TOM BIRMINGHAM JOINS CITIZEN SCHOOLS MASSACHUSETTS AS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
March 4, 2014 – Boston, Mass. – Citizen Schools announced today that Tom Birmingham, former President of the Massachusetts State Senate, has joined the organization as Executive Director of Citizen Schools Massachusetts. Citizen Schools is a national organization that partners with middle schools to expand the learning day for children in low-income communities through academic mentoring and skill-building apprenticeships. The Massachusetts program partners with six schools in Boston and Chelsea.
Birmingham brings deep knowledge of local politics, expertise in education reform, and passion for public education to Citizen Schools’ work in Massachusetts. He served in the Massachusetts State Senate from January 1991 – January 2003 and in 1996 was elected as President of the Senate. Birmingham served as Senate chair of the Joint Committee on Education and was instrumental in drafting and passing the Education Reform Act of 1993, a sweeping education bill focused on raising standards for educators, students and administrators and widely credited with setting Massachusetts up for its current success relative to other states across the country.
Most recently, Birmingham served as Senior Counsel for Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP. He joins the organization with a personal passion for expanding the learning day and creating opportunities for low income students in our community.
“I am eager to join the Citizen Schools Massachusetts team that has already guided thousands of underserved students on a path to personal and professional success. There is unfinished work to be done in public education and too many of our children are falling behind in spite of our gains as a Commonwealth,” said Birmingham. “I believe Expanded Learning Time (ELT) is a key strategy for closing the achievement and opportunity gap and Citizen Schools has the best model I know with a proven track record of results in Boston, Chelsea, and nationally.”
“I am thrilled that Tom will be leading our work in Massachusetts,” said Pat Kirby, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Citizen Schools and former Citizen Schools Massachusetts Executive Director. “As a key architect of our Commonwealth’s education reform law, he understands both the progress we have made and the continued challenges our poorest students face locally and around the state.”
About Citizen Schools
Citizen Schools is a national nonprofit organization that partners with middle schools to expand the learning day for children in low-income communities. Citizen Schools mobilizes a team of AmeriCorps educators and volunteer “Citizen Teachers” to teach real-world learning projects and provide academic support, in order to help all students discover and achieve their dreams. For more information, please visit http://www.citizenschools.org/.
- 2 weeks ago
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In Susan Frey’s recent article on EdSource, also picked up by the Oakland Tribune, Contra Costa Times, and The Hechinger Report, Citizen Schools’ Expanded Learning Time (ELT) partnership with a middle school in Oakland, CA, is highlighted as a model that works.
Elmhurst Community Prep’s principal, Kilian Betlach, describes his vision to close the opportunity gap for low-income students by bringing a variety of experiences to life. Partnering with Citizen Schools is a powerful alternative to traditional after-school programs, he says, because it allows him to create an integrated longer school day filled with academic support and enrichment like apprenticeships:
Rodzhaney Sledge, dressed in the light-blue school uniform, is new to the school as a 6th grader, but she already understands how the after-school part of the program supports her academic work. For example, she took a class called Tools for Peace, where she learned to meditate. Meditation, she said, has helped calm her so she can focus on academics. She also appreciates the help with her homework she receives for at least an hour each day.
“I don’t understand the students who have problems staying after school until 5 p.m.,” she said. “You can do your homework and don’t have to do it when you get home. You’re free.”
Betlach and community partners – primarily Citizen Schools, a national nonprofit that focuses on providing quality expanded learning programs for middle school students in low-income communities – have cobbled together federal, state, local and private funding to support the unique program…
What makes the expanded school day economically possible is the school’s reliance on AmeriCorps teaching fellows like [Ashur] Bratt. The fellows are funded by the federal government and receive special training from Citizen Schools staff on how to teach in an urban environment. They are involved in both the academic morning program and the after-school classes from 2 to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, helping to provide a seamless transition for students. The schedule also allows the regular academic teachers an hour each afternoon, from 2 to 3 p.m., to work collaboratively and plan.
In exchange, the AmeriCorps fellows will have earned their intern teaching credential at the end of their two years at Elmhurst.
Edgard Vidrio, a sixth grade history teacher who joined the Elmhurst staff this year, said he appreciates the variety of opportunities the program is offering his students…Vidrio says the young, dynamic AmeriCorps teachers develop deep relationships with their students. If a student in his class is upset, he or she will often ask to talk to one of the teaching fellows, Vidrio said…
AmeriCorps teaching fellow Jeannette Aames, who is finishing her second year and hopes to teach high school math in Oakland Unified in the fall, said teaching a math intervention class was her most rewarding experience at Elmhurst. The class of three girls and nine “rowdy boys” could not grasp the concept of negative numbers.
“Direct instruction didn’t work with them,” Aames said, requiring her to develop more hands-on approaches to teach the concept…
The students also get opportunities through Citizen Schools to participate in apprenticeships with “citizen teachers,” any adult from the broader Bay Area community who has a passion, such as robotics or radio reporting, to share with the students. The citizen teachers receive basic training on how to teach from Citizen Schools staff before they begin the after-school class.
The citizen teacher is partnered with an AmeriCorps fellow who assists the teacher with handling classroom management. At the end of the apprenticeship, the students make a presentation (called a “WOW!”) to their parents and business and community leaders, showcasing what they have learned.
In addition, local companies invite students to their offices for apprenticeship experiences. At Pandora, students learned how to make an app.
“It was a video game where you dodge fireballs,” Betlach recalled.
The positive school culture that Frey captures is the result not of a miracle education reform formula, but of a committed collaboration of human beings, caring and working really hard. The students, AmeriCorps Teaching Fellows, and teachers whose voices fill the story bring that to life better than most research briefs and infographics. We’re proud every day to serve alongside Principal Betlach, Mr. Vidrio, and the rest of the ECP community, meditating, dodging fireballs, and dreaming big!
Apply to the AmeriCorps Teaching Fellowship today and you can join next year’s team at ECP!
- 2 weeks ago
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Alyssa Pressman is a first year National Teaching Fellow in Charlotte, North Carolina.
I go to work every day with a purpose and leave every day excited about the next. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but when I made the decision to be an AmeriCorps National Teaching Fellow with Citizen Schools, I knew it was the right choice thanks to the people I get to work with every day– my team, and my students.