Happy Back to School!

It’s our favorite time of the year, back to school! At Citizen Schools we are ramping up for an exciting 2012-2013 academic year of expanded learning time. We’ve got new Teaching Fellows, school partnerships, volunteer Citizen Teachers and bright new students to serve. This year we even have a brand new region, Illinois, to welcome!

This upcoming year Citizen Schools will be serving 5,200 students at 31 sites in eight states. We are thrilled to announce our newest region, Illinois, and the two schools we will be serving there. Walsh Elementary and Cesar Chavez Elementary will both provide students with an Expanded Learning Time (ELT) program.  Executive Director of Citizen Schools Illinois, Bryce Bowman commented on the start of the year, “We are excited that the proven Citizen Schools educational model is being launched in the great city of Chicago. We cannot wait for our students to experience an awesome apprenticeship with volunteers from companies including Google, AOL and Cisco that will all begin in a few weeks!”

In addition to Chicago, we welcome six other new school partners across our network. In Texas, we are proud to announce that we will be partnering with Fondren Middle School. Fondren is part of the Houston Independent School District’s Apollo 20 program, which aims to boost student achievement in many of Houston’s struggling schools.

New York welcomes two new campuses to the Citizen Schools network this fall. Urban Assembly Unison School in Brooklyn, which focuses on college readiness, is opening its doors to students for the first time. Citizen Schools has been selected as its ELT partner serving its brand new 6th grade class. Citizen Schools is also new to West Prep Academy in West Harlem, where we will serve 140 6th and 7th graders, also under the ELT model.

New Jersey is geared up to launch two unique ELT programs this year. The Eagle Academy Foundation is launching its first school in Newark and is bringing in Citizen Schools as its first ELT partner. Eagle Academy is the first all boys school in the Citizen Schools network. Also new is the Newark Early College High School, which increases access to higher education for low income students. Citizen Schools will serve 200 of their boys and girls.

Lastly, Massachusetts welcomes the Joseph Lee School in Dorchester, which for the first time this fall, will serve 6th graders. With their expansion to the middle grades, the school has chosen Citizen Schools to launch an ELT day to serve their new 6th grade.

In preparation for the exciting growth and new partnerships, our 170 new Teaching Fellows have hit the ground running to launch the new school year with success. They’ve spent weeks in training and they are eager to get in the classroom and meet the students.

“In my second year of the fellowship, I am so excited to take on the challenge of a new school year. I am confident that with our team of diverse, passionate and empowering new Teaching Fellows, our Campus Directors and all of our first shift teachers, we are prepared and determined to further close the achievement and opportunity gaps,” said Rachel Lafferty, Second Year Teaching Fellow at the Dever McCormack School in Dorchester, MA.

That dream team also includes our brand new crop of volunteer Citizen Teachers who will lead 600 hands-on apprenticeships this year on electrical engineering, web design, mobile application development, poetry, cooking and more. Over the summer, our volunteers dedicated hours of their time to train, learn and prepare with us. They are ready to make an impact on closing the opportunity gap by exposing young minds to their successful careers.

Katelyn Doran, Video Game Design Citizen Teacher said, “I’ve been working with Citizen Schools for about four years, and every year I have seen the quality and quantity of apprenticeships improve dramatically. I cannot wait to see what our students accomplish this year through the amazing opportunities provided by Citizen Teachers across the nation!”

Lastly, we look forward to working with many middle school students across the country in the coming weeks. We can’t wait for them to achieve academic success, reach new heights in 21 st century learning and discover their dreams as they experience expanded learning time with Citizen Schools. Thank you for your unwavering support. We couldn’t make this upcoming school year happen without you. Happy Back to School!