News

STEM Advocacy Coalition

15820696688_46b3241edd_mDid you know that New Jersey has 1.4 STEM jobs for every one unemployed person?* The STEM Advocacy Coalition (SAC), which addresses New Jersey’s growing skills gap in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) industries, was created in partnership with Dale Anglin, Senior Program Officer, Victoria Foundation; Ross Danis, President, Newark Trust for Education; Catherine “Kit” Nugent, Director of External Engagement, Citizen Schools New York-New Jersey; and Sarah Keh, Program Officer, Prudential Foundation.

The Launch Committee is comprised of representatives from the Mayor’s office, Newark Public Schools, Newark Workforce Alliance, Urban League, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Schools Who Can, Students 2 Science, Newark Museum, Liberty Science Center, NPower, GlassRoots, PSE&G, and Panasonic among others.

SAC’s mission is to develop Newark’s future STEM workforce by closing education, access and opportunity gaps by utilizing cross-sector collaborations between STEM industries, institutions of higher education, school districts, and workforce development agencies to align STEM education with New Jersey’s projected economic growth and global leadership. The overarching goals of SAC in formation

  • Align STEM education with training programs and with necessary job skills.
  • Explore and scaffold existing mentorship programs to opportunities in apprenticeships, internships, job-shadowing, and more.
  • Create a pipeline for talent recruitment and professional development.
  • Advocate for mutual policy positions which champion education, equity, and workforce readiness.
  • Develop “real time” communications and marketing materials, which feature collaborative STEM Newark “good news”, highlighting programs and best practices for reaching across sectors, agencies, and partnerships.

17070976939_fceb38a0ab_mTo date, SAC has had three launch committee meetings in order to collect information, share ideas and identify resources. This organization hopes to galvanize educational institutions, community-based organizations, businesses, and parents to inspire and train Newark’s young workforce to become the nation’s next innovators in science, engineering, and technology.

Listed below are the panelists that met on June 16th to address the need for alignment of STEM education to workforce readiness job skills in STEM.

  • Kendall Ademu-John HR Specialist, Diversity Outreach & Talent Acquisition, PSE&G
  • Stephen Cafiero Group Manager EEO/AA Diversity & Recruiting, Panasonic
  • Sally Nadler Manager, Workforce Development, PSE&G
  • Evo Popoff Chief Innovation Officer and an Assistant Commissioner, NJDOE
  • Jennifer L. Stegers Accounting Manager, NJ Chamber of Commerce Foundation

For more information contact: Barbara Glassman, Managing Director of External Engagement at Citizen Schools New York-New Jersey at barbaraglassman@citizenschools.org

The SAC is a work project of Kechia Gay, STEM VISTA. Citizen Schools appreciates Kechia’s leadership and support of this effort.

*Source: Change The Equation’s Vital Signs

Citizen Schools Sets Sail with Lending Club

Close your eyes. You’re stepping onto the netting of a 105-foot trimaran sailing boat. See the white sail majestically swell above you. Hear the seagulls call out, echoing against the hull. As the boat gains speed on the water, feel the spray of the San Francisco Bay against your skin. This morning, you boarded a school bus in East Oakland with your classmates, and this afternoon, you are no longer a 12-year-old middle schooler. You’re a young sailor on your first expedition out to sea.

Lending club blog photoOn June 17, 2015, 12 students from Greenleaf K-8 School in Oakland and their families had the unique opportunity to go on their first sailing adventure, thanks to Lending Club, a new corporate partner for Citizen Schools California headquartered in San Francisco.

CEO Renaud Laplanche and co-skipper Ryan Breymaier chartered the maxi trimaran–now called the Lending Club 2–and they have selected an international team for a racing program to take place over the next 7 months. The crew has journeyed from Europe to both the East and West coasts of the United States, hosting sailing trips for colleagues and friends, which now includes Citizen Schools students, families, and AmeriCorps Teaching Fellows.

This year, Citizen Schools welcomed Lending Club as its 2015-2017 Financial Education-Banking Apprenticeship Sponsor in California. Citizen Schools is the company’s first official education non-profit partner, helping to launch its “Doing Good” program, which supports Lending Club employees’ efforts to make a difference in their community. Laplanche spoke about the need for these efforts: “An opportunity gap exists in financial education. Lending Club and Citizen Schools share a goal to narrow that gap, and we’re very excited to launch this partnership and get started.”

Lending Club employees will be forming teams to teach financial education apprenticeships across Oakland and San Jose in the 2015-2016 academic year. This summer, Citizen Schools and Lending Club are collaborating to develop an interactive apprenticeship curriculum that introduces youth to basic financial concepts like “credit”, “debt,” and “savings.”

Citizen Schools California knows the value of intentional partnerships with companies like Lending Club. The apprenticeship model thrives and benefits our students most when we partner with individuals, across a multitude of industries, who understand our mission and recognize the larger implications of sharing their specific knowledge and resources.

“An overwhelming number of low-income students don’t have access to educational opportunities at the same level as upper-income students,” says Laplanche. “Citizen Schools has built an admirable program that effectively addresses that gap. We look forward to having a hand in leveling the playing field and helping Bay Area students develop their financial literacy.”

About Lending Club

Lending Club is the world’s largest online marketplace connecting borrowers and investors. They’re transforming the banking system to make credit more affordable and investing more rewarding. They operate at a lower cost than traditional bank lending programs and pass the savings on to borrowers in the form of lower rates and to investors in the form of solid returns.

Creating a Personal Brand with Brenda Williams, the Citizen Teacher of the Month

Providing students, particularly at the middle school level, with exposure to different professions and direction for thinking about their future is critical to preparing them for success in school and beyond. This is Brenda Williams’ goal every semester when she teaches “My Guided Personal Story” to male students at Carter G. Woodson Elementary School in Chicago, IL. With 25 years of experience as a business strategist, Brenda knows what it takes to create a compelling personal brand.

She teaches students to be the CEOs of their lives. “My Guided Personal Story (myGPS) provides a structure for the students to think about their talents, values, and dreams to ultimately tell an interesting story about themselves and who they are. The story effectively communicates who they are and where they want to be in five years,” said Brenda.

This month we celebrate Brenda as the Citizen Teacher of the Month for her passionate effort to prepare students for a successful future.

Meet Brenda…

How did you create My Guided Personal Story?

“Being a strategic planner is all about projecting a vision. I want to make sure students have something they created on their own, to remind themselves of the great young men they want to be and think about the paths they need to take to get there. It helps them to create a vision for an inspired future and think about the steps necessary to further their dreams.

Your brand begins in your mind. It’s not easy because many kids face challenges on a daily basis. They need a place in their heart and mind where they can go that says ‘I see the rainbow. I see a promising future for myself.’”

How have you seen the apprenticeship impact students?

“It’s introspective, immersive, and highly expressive. They have to use language they don’t necessarily use everyday. I work to get them a place where they can talk about themselves comfortably. We talk about how it’s okay to be vulnerable. We’ve been able to find out a lot about their lives and find out why they are the way they are.

I make them stand in their truth by getting them to describe themselves and their interests. If you want people to believe you, you have to stand strong in your truth and make people see you for who you are.

They talk to their family and friends about vision boards they create for a personal commercial. The commercial focuses on the statement: ‘This is who I am, this is what I stand for. This is my dream and this is what I want to be.’ They can keep it on their phones and easily go back to remind themselves during difficult situations.

What’s one of your favorite “aha” or “wow” moments?

“When I came back from my Citizen Teacher training, one of my former students ran up to me and said ‘I got my report card! You have to see it! I’m talking A’s and B’s. I got myself together Miss Brenda, I got myself together this time. myGPS helped me do this.’ I felt very, very fulfilled thinking about this. If you can get at least one student to move the needle that is success.

My second favorite moment is when I was starting my new course. It went from eight boys to 18 boys. The word got out and I thought it would be difficult, but three students even repeated the class. I’m not a pushover and thought they would find the apprenticeship difficult because of it. One of the students asked, ‘Miss Brenda, can I stand up and tell everyone how myGPS has changed my life?’ He stood up and did more than I could ever do for a class. He did a testimony for myGPS. It was one of those moments where I’m thinking ‘He’s got it. He gets it.’”

What advice do you have for other volunteers?

“Teaching middle school students is a lot more difficult than dealing with corporate executives. Success is defined differently. If we get one or two students to the next level in the lesson, that’s success. You have to adjust your communication to make sure you’re speaking to them at their level.

It’s not easy. This is the most challenging and rewarding thing I’ve done. I got out there to be a contributor in hopes of moving the needle and I found out how hard it is. It made me a lot more empathetic and gave me a greater understanding. Utilizing tools and suggestions from Citizen Schools’ campus staff helped me reach the students more effectively and manage their classroom behavior, which can be challenging at times.”

Why should people volunteer to teach students?

“It helps kids understand why it’s important to go to school. There are a lot of interesting careers that they had never heard of before my class. By teaching them we are opening their worlds to different roles and are fortifying their experience with what goes on in the real-world. That kind of exposure is important. Many people are looking for ways to give back but spend a lot of time working or having hobbies that are really important to them. They don’t often realize that giving back can be sharing our experiences, knowledge, and passions with kids.

Kids are the future, and people who want to cultivate and shape the future should be involved with kids. If you need structure, Citizen Schools will give you that. I think it’s a wonderful way to contribute to the future of our society in way that makes you feel good.”

PRESS RELEASE: Hikvision and Citizen Schools Provide STEM Education to Students in Need

Hikvision and Citizen Schools Provide STEM Education to Students in Need

City of Industry, CA – May 26, 2015 – HikvisionÒ USA, North America’s leading provider of innovative, award-winning video surveillance products and solutions, has teamed up with Citizen Schools, a national nonprofit organization that partners with middle schools to expand the learning day for children in low-income communities.

Hikvision volunteers provided hands-on classroom opportunities for middle school students at Chase Elementary in Chicago, where the students learned about engineering design and built alternative energy vehicles. The ten-week semester culminated in a “WOW! Event” this month where students taught back what they learned to teachers, parents, and community members. As a technology leader, Hikvision is dedicated to supporting opportunities for STEM-based education (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) across North America.

Citizen Schools, which is celebrating its twentieth anniversary this year, has a rich history of enabling public middle schools in low-income communities to provide a longer learning day with enrichment opportunities for students. Volunteers called “Citizen Teachers” visit the classroom in the extended day each week to engage the students in activities they would not otherwise be able to participate in during the school day. Students gain knowledge in topics ranging from journalism to astronomy, leading toward what Citizen Schools CEO Steven Rothstein refers to as a “moment of discovery.”

“Igniting a moment of discovery means that the students feel empowered,” Mr. Rothstein said. “They build something: the rocket flies, they’ve cooked something for the first time, their financial plan shows how they could potentially afford to go to college. These opportunities are crucial for students in many urban areas around the country. By the time they have reached 6th grade, they typically receive 6000 fewer hours of academic and personal enrichment opportunities than students in higher-income communities.”

Citizen Teachers from Hikvision taught an engineering design course at Chase Elementary where the students built structures and vehicles, tested their load-bearing capacity, and then transferred that knowledge into an understanding of how alternative energy vehicles operate and how they will affect our society in the future.

“Coming into the classroom every week and seeing how excited the students got about what they were learning was an incredible experience,” remarked Ahmed Elsayed, a sales engineer for Hikvision USA who volunteered at Chase. “Their desire for knowledge was palpable and I’m proud to be part of a program that fostered that.”

In addition to volunteer hours spent in the classroom, Hikvision also made a financial donation to provide classroom supplies.

“As a forward-thinking technology leader, Hikvision understands that the next generation of scientists and engineers are sitting in our middle school classrooms today,” stated Jeffrey He, president of Hikvision USA and Hikvision Canada. “Educating these students so they can realize their full potential will lead to a more robust workforce and a broader landscape for the STEM-based industries of the future. Hikvision is honored to play a part in facilitating this fundamental conveyance of knowledge.”

To learn more about Citizen Schools, visit www.citizenschools.org.

For more information about Hikvision, visit booth 822 at the Electronic Security Expo (ESX), June 24-28, at the Baltimore Convention Center, or go to www.hikvision.com/en/us.

About Hikvision

Hikvision is the world’s largest supplier of video surveillance products and solutions. The company specializes in innovative video surveillance technology, as well as designing and manufacturing a full line of innovative CCTV and video surveillance products. Hikvision possesses the industry’s largest R&D team and state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities; both allow Hikvision’s customers the benefit of world-class products that are designed with cutting-edge technology. Hikvision USA is a subsidiary of Hikvision Digital Technology Co., Ltd.

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.

###

Media contact:

Alex Asnovich, Director of Marketing, Hikvision USA

312-576-1025, Alex.Asnovich@hikvision.com

PRESS RELEASE: Walmart Grant Sparks Positive Outcomes in Adolescent Literacy

Media contact: Denise Olson, denise_olson@wgbh.org 617-300-3995

Report Shows Gains in Adolescent Literacy

Walmart Foundation grant prompts results in six programs for disadvantaged students

BOSTON, Massachusetts (May 19, 2015) – A report released today by WGBH Boston and five other organizations found significant increases in educational outcomes in literacy, based on programs they implemented with middle school students across the country.

Titled Telling Our Stories, the report (http://middleschoolsuccess.net/) profiles each organization’s research-driven solution to bridging gaps in adolescent literacy and improving education outcomes for disadvantaged students. The organizations are: BELL, Citizen Schools, City Year, Innovations in Civic Participation, National Summer Learning Association, and WGBH Boston.

The work of the six organizations was funded by a $33 million adolescent literacy grant from the Walmart (NYSE: WMT) Foundation.

“Walmart is dedicated to strengthening the communities it serves around the world. The Walmart Foundation grants profiled here have benefited thousands of students in the most disadvantaged schools in the country,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, CEO, Walmart Foundation. “These initiatives offer a rich collection of data-driven outcomes and best practices for leveling the educational playing field for all of our nation’s students.”

The Walmart Foundation selected the six organizations because of their successful track records in directly improving literacy outcomes for high-needs students, and each organization’s ability to build a program that would be scalable and sustainable over time. Each organization’s adolescent literacy program showed significant measurable increases in academic outcomes for participating students:

  • Four months of gains in math and two months of gains in literacy skills for BELL summer scholars in six weeks.
  • English Language arts proficiency in grades served by Citizen Schools extended learning time increased by an average of 4.2 points, and math proficiency increased by 6.2 points each year.
  • A full letter grade improvement in English language arts for 39% of sixth through ninth graders working with City Year in the 2012-2013 school year.
  • Expansion of Innovations in Civic Participation programs to over 600 at-risk students in seven communities.
  • An average gain in math of 4.1 months by NSLA Summer Advantage USA scholars in Chicago and Indianapolis, and an advancement rate of 94% to top college preparatory schools by scholars in Washington D.C.’s Higher Achievement Program.
  • An 8% increase in vocabulary for 300 students after completing just five WGBH-developed literacy lessons that were funded with the grant.

About BELL

BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life) is a national non-profit organization that partners with schools and community organizations to expand learning time in the summer and after school.  BELL’s mission is to transform the academic achievements, self-confidence, and life trajectories of children living in under-resourced, urban communities.  More info at www.experiencebell.org.

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/.

About City Year

City Year is dedicated to helping students and schools succeed. Diverse teams of City Year AmeriCorps members serve full-time in high-poverty urban schools, providing high-impact student, classroom, and school-wide support to help students stay in school and on track to graduate from high school, ready for college and career success.

A proud member of the AmeriCorps national service network, City Year is made possible by support from the Corporation for National and Community Service, school district partnerships, and private philanthropy from corporations, foundations and individuals.

Learn more at www.cityyear.org.

About Innovations in Civic Participation

Innovations in Civic Participation (ICP) is a global leader in the field of Youth Civic Engagement. ICP believes that well-structured youth service programs can provide innovative solutions to social and environmental issues, while helping young people develop skills for future employment and active citizenship. ICP carries out its mission through three main activities: 1) Incubating innovative models for youth service programs; 2) Assisting governmental and civil society organizations with the development of youth service programs and policies; and 3) Conducting research and serving as a source of information on youth civic engagement, especially national youth service and service-learning. Learn more at http://www.icicp.org/

About The National Summer Learning Association

The National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) is the only national nonprofit exclusively focused on closing the achievement gap by increasing access to high-quality summer learning opportunities. NSLA recognizes and disseminates what works, offers expertise and support for programs and communities, and advocates for summer learning as a solution for equity and excellence in education. NSLA’s work is driven by the belief that all children and youth deserve high-quality summer learning experiences that will help them succeed in college, career, and life. For more information, visit www.summerlearning.org.

About WGBH

WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcaster and the largest producer of PBS content for TV and the Web, including Frontline, Nova, American Experience, Masterpiece, Antiques Roadshow, Arthur, Curious George and more than a dozen other prime-time, lifestyle, and children’s series. WGBH also is a major supplier of programming for public radio, and oversees Public Radio International (PRI). As a leader in educational multimedia for the classroom, WGBH supplies content to PBS LearningMedia, a national broadband service for teachers and students. WGBH also is a pioneer in technologies and services that make media accessible to those with hearing or visual impairments. WGBH has been recognized with hundreds of honors. More info at www.wgbh.org.