Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is Citizen Schools?

A: We connect middle school students with the real world and their future career pathways, in partnership with public middle schools in urban communities.

What makes us special is our apprenticeship model—semester-long projects that turn kids into young scientists, architects, lawyers, business owners, or cooks that are taught by volunteers, like you, we call Citizen Teachers.

Every student we work with gains the skills, access and beliefs that equip them for a great future.

Click on the video on the right to see the story of how one school is bridging the gap for students in California.

Learn about Citizen Schools

Q: What is an apprenticeship and WOW!?

A: Apprenticeships are real-world projects related to science, finance, architecture, the arts, fitness, service, media, law and various other topics taught by volunteers called Citizen Teachers. Apprenticeships are taught over the course of 10 weeks.

A WOW! is the public presentation of what the students learned or produced over the 10 weeks. “WOW!” is also the most common phrase you hear at a Citizen Schools event when students are able to teach you what they’ve learned in just 10 weeks.

Click on the video on the right to learn more about apprenticeships and WOW!s

Learn more about apprenticeships

Q: What can I teach?

A: Citizen Schools has a library full of engaging lesson plans to choose from. Citizen Teachers have taught everything from robotics to the science of cooking to law and government.

The best way to decide what to teach is to see what others have taught. We invite you to explore our Apprenticeships in Action page, where we feature some of our most exceptional apprenticeships.

Click on the image on the right to explore our library of topics to teach.

Explore topics to teach

Q: Who will I be teaching?

A: You will have a group of 10 to 15 students who will range in age from 10 to 14 years old and may be in the 6th, 7th, or 8th grade.

Citizen Schools works in some of the most challenging middle schools in the country. You can expect your students’ level of skill and understanding to vary.

Click on the video on the right to see the impact our program has on students.

See our students in action

Q: What is the time commitment?

A: Apprenticeships are taught 90 minutes a week over the course of 10 weeks and depending on the location, are taught Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday and begin between 3:00 and 4:30 pm.

You will receive five hours of training prior to entering the classroom. You should also plan to spend an hour to prepare for your lesson each week.

As a Citizen Teacher, you and thousands of other volunteers will be joining a movement that will change education forever. As one Citizen Teacher alumni puts it, “it will feed your soul.”

Click on the image on the right to see the full Citizen Teacher journey.

View the Citizen Teacher journey

Q: Where can I teach?

A: Citizen Schools is located in the following regions:

California – Bay Area
Illinois – Chicago
Massachusetts – Boston, Chelsea, Salem
New York – New York City
North Carolina – Charlotte & Durham
Texas – Houston

FY14 map - no labelsSee where we work.


Q: Can I teach with others?

A: Absolutely! Many of our apprenticeships are taught by teams of Citizen Teachers of two to four co-workers or friends.

In fact, we’ve found that teams of Citizen Teachers teach some of our most outstanding apprenticeships.

Click on the video on the right to see a team of Citizen Teachers in action.

Watch a Citizen Teacher in action

Q: What are my resources?

A: A Citizen Schools staff member will be with you every step of the way. Whether it’s developing lesson plans, working with middle school students, or just offering a sympathetic ear, you’ll be supported from start to finish in your apprenticeship.

You will also receive extensive training before you step into the classroom.

Click on the video on the right to learn how our staff will support you throughout your experience.

Learn how our staff will support you

Q: Why should I volunteer?

A: Middle school kids need to learn why their education is relevant. Your passion and career success will show them the connections between what their teachers and tests require and their dreams for their future.

Click on the video on the right to learn more about the importance of our work and the impact it has not only on our students, but our volunteers.

Hear what Roy has to say about student impact