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What happens when middle school students present to a group of adults on topics like the physics behind a golf swing, how to invest in the stock market, or how to launch a rocket? Chances are, they won’t just be impressed, but they will say “WOW!” From top executives of major companies to parents and teachers, the adults that fill the room at the culminating WOW! events are consistently blown away by what students have learned with volunteer “Citizen Teachers” over the course of a semester in Citizen Schools.
This spring things were no different at three schools in North Carolina…
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“Extended learning may be the only reason some young people come to school.” – Jonathan Brice, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, US Department of Education.
On May 19, the Center for American Progress (CAP) hosted a panel, All Hands on Deck: How Expanded Learning Time Schools and Community Partnerships Work Together to Improve Outcomes for Students, to discuss how expanded learning time (ELT) and community partnerships can create a positive impact for students and schools.
The event featured remarks from Carmel Martin, Executive Vice President of Policy at CAP, and Jonathan Brice, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, US Department of Education. The panel was moderated by Jennifer Davis, Co-Founder and President of the National Center of Time and Learning, and included Eric Schwarz, Co-Founder and CEO of Citizen Schools, Megan Bird, Managing Director of Program for Citizen Schools Massachusetts, Chris Caruso, ExpandED Schools Senior Vice President, and Kerri Ayn Seow, Third Grade Teacher, Thurgood Marshall Academy Lower School.
The panelists discussed how community organizations, such as Citizen Schools, have partnered closely with schools and their administration to make an impact for students, teachers, and the community at large with an expanded day. The additional hours allow for more time for academics, more enriching activities, and more time for teacher collaboration and planning.
“ELT gives me the chance to teach what I wasn’t able to during class and the extra activities enrich my lessons,” Kerri Ayn Seow.
Read more about the event here.
- 2 months ago
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For Shivani Mehta volunteering isn’t just a weekend activity, it runs through every aspect of her life. Throughout high school and college she gave her time to make an impact in the lives of children. When she started working at Cognizant in New Jersey, Shivani was able to participate in a new volunteer opportunity, teaching an “apprenticeship” class with Citizen Schools.
Citizen Schools is a national non-profit that partners with low-income middle schools to extend the learning day. One afternoon a week Shivani arrives at Eagle Academy for the Young Men of Newark, transforming from a business analyst into a Citizen Teacher, and leading students on a journey to master photography. During this apprenticeship, students gain an understanding of all aspects of photography including the power of a story told by a picture. By filling the afternoon with activities like this, students develop skills that help them succeed in high school, college, and beyond.
Since she began working at Cognizant, Shivani has taught four apprenticeships ranging from robotics to professional networking. She even recruited some of her sorority sisters from Iota Sigma Beta to teach with her. But for Shivani the experience is more than teaching students a new skill, it’s about presenting herself as a mentor and role model. “I feel that it’s my job to be a force of good in their lives regardless of the challenges they may face outside of the classroom.”
In fact, students have felt so comfortable in Shivani’s class they have come to her for advice. Sometimes it’s about furthering some of the skills they have gained in the apprenticeship, other times it’s more serious. “I remind them all the time that they have a bright future ahead of them.”
This month, we are proud to recognize Shivani Mehta as our Citizen Teacher of the month!
- 2 months ago
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Citizen Schools’ national Board Chair Lawrence H. Summers announced that the board has unanimously selected Steven Maze Rothstein as the organization’s next CEO. Rothstein will join Citizen Schools on August 1, 2014 as CEO-elect and will assume the CEO role on September 1, 2014, succeeding Co-Founder and CEO, Eric Schwarz. This story was featured in the Boston Business Journal this morning.
“At a time of growing inequality of opportunity, Citizen Schools has proven that expanded learning time significantly boosts academic proficiency,” said Summers. “Steven Rothstein is uniquely suited to continue the great work of Eric Schwarz. The board, the staff, and I are excited to work with Steven as we provide opportunities for academic success to all students.”
Rothstein recently stepped down as President of The Perkins School for the Blind, where he served as President for 11 years. At Perkins, the nation’s first school for the blind, which counts Helen Keller among its alums, Rothstein grew in-person and online educational services from 40,000 to 850,000 students, parents, and teachers; completed a $136 million capital campaign, the largest in the school’s history; and grew annual operating revenue from $40 million to $72 million. Rothstein previously served as Co-Founder and General Manager of Citizens Energy Corporation, the world’s first nonprofit social mission oil company, increasing gross annual sales for Citizens and related companies to more than $2 billion. Citizens, which was Co-Founded and is now led by former Congressman Joe Kennedy, has provided free home heating oil to an estimated half a million elderly individuals and low-income families. Rothstein also served as Assistant Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Mental Retardation from 1987 to 1990.
The national board’s appointment of Rothstein came at the unanimous recommendation of an eight member search committee chaired by Sherif Nada, a former Citizen Schools board chair, and including five board members, a major funder, and two members of the national staff. Search firm Isaacson Miller supported the search.
“I am honored and humbled to join the Citizen Schools team,” said Rothstein. “The opportunity to work with smart people, volunteers, donors, supporters, and public officials to positively impact urban education is incredibly exhilarating. I am excited to continue the momentum that Eric and the team have built to impact thousands of students nationwide.”
“Steven Rothstein is an innovative, experienced, and compassionate leader,” said Schwarz. “I look forward to supporting him and our excellent team during this transition. Citizen Schools has invented a new approach to education — an approach that offers low-income children the extra academic practice, mentoring support, hands-on projects, and strong social networks needed to fully close opportunity and achievement gaps. Our results are strong, but now the challenge is scale. We need to make Citizen Schools the new normal in urban education.”
Founded in Boston in 1995, Citizen Schools partners with underserved public middle schools across 14 school districts in seven states to dramatically expand the learning day by 400 hours each academic year. The organization mobilizes a team of AmeriCorps Teaching Fellows and volunteer “Citizen Teachers” who provide academic coaching and skill-building apprenticeships. Rigorous external evaluations indicate that Citizen Schools’ Expanded Learning Time (ELT) initiative significantly boosts academic proficiency, helps schools provide a well-rounded education, and more than doubles interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) through apprenticeships like robotics and video game design. A study of Citizen Schools students in Boston, MA and Charlotte, NC indicated that Citizen Schools helps students fully close high school completion and college access gaps with their middle income peers while also narrowing the college completion gap.
Citizen Schools addresses a growing opportunity gap that is fueling growing inequality between lower and higher-income children in everything from test score proficiency to college graduation rates to lifelong earnings. A study by The Afterschool Corporation found that by the time children from low-income households reach 6th grade, their middle and upper-income peers spend 6,000 more hours engaged in formal and informal learning. Another study by educational economist Richard Murnane indicated that upper-income families have tripled their investment in their children’s education in a generation, while lower-income children have counted on resources from public schools.
Rothstein is moving to Somerville with his wife, Susan Maze Rothstein, a professor of law at Northeastern University. The couple has two sons. One is a doctor and the other is a student at Williams College. Rothstein was selected as a student member of the Massachusetts board of education while still in high school and later, as a parent in the Brookline public schools, served as chair of the Brookline Extended Day Program. Rothstein graduated with honors from Williams College and received a Master of Business Administration degree from Northeastern University through the school’s evening program.
- 2 months ago
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The global phenomenon that is Lean In has recently expanded to reach younger and younger audiences. A second edition of the blockbuster book, Lean In For Graduates, adds material directed to recent grads starting their careers. And, as the Ban Bossy campaign demonstrated earlier this year, the message of leadership and ending bias toward women resonates with school-age girls too.
That has proven true for a group of 13 sixth graders at Bronx Writing Academy, who signed up for a “Lean In – Girl Power” apprenticeship as part of their expanded learning day. Under the guidance of volunteers from Facebook, they studied issues that women face and used the book as a jumping-off point.
After ten weeks of eye-opening conversations and mentoring, they had an unusual opportunity to share their solutions with a symbol of female empowerment: Lean In author Sheryl Sandberg herself!