CINCINNATI, OH, August 8, 2019 – US2020, a division of Citizen Schools that partners with communities to dramatically scale the number of STEM professionals mentoring and teaching underrepresented youth, announced the winners of its fourth annual US2020 STEM Mentoring + Making Awards today. Presented by sponsors, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), the awards are a national platform to celebrate and encourage exceptional work in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) mentoring and maker-centered learning. At the annual convening, US2020 also unveiled a brand refresh, starting with a new name, Makers + Mentors Network, to reflect the growth of the national STEM initiative.
Mehmet Kanik embodies all the enthusiasm you would expect from a first-time volunteer. Not only has he brought his work from Research at MIT into the classroom, he also draws energy and confidence from the students he teaches. Mehmet is conducting research and was recently published in Science Magazine, for the same fiber-based artificial muscle samples he brought into the classroom.
On June 30, a group of new players took to the field at Oracle Park before the San Francisco Giants game against the Arizona Diamondbacks! Thanks to Bank of America’s support, 9 middle school students from Citizen Schools were able to run onto the field and take positions for the Kids Take the Field presentation. Students were even able to meet the players while out on the field, an experience the students said that they would never forget!
From April through June, coast to coast, Citizen Schools celebrated the school year’s apprenticeship programs with two WOW!NOW breakfasts in Massachusetts and New York and a mock-trial themed benefitEd in California. These events mark the culmination of both the 10-week apprenticeships and also the school year.
On June 14th, the Make For All initiative led by Citizen Schools announced more than 50 commitments- new partnerships, initiatives and programs in support of maker-centered learning. These commitments will reach more than 768,000 students over the next three years and span across 149 communities. Organizations and partners making commitments include K-12 schools, community colleges, universities, companies, makerspaces, museums, libraries, non-profit organizations and cities.
Rounding the corner on two years of piloting Catalyst programs, we’re shining a light on those generous professionals that give generously of themselves to inspire the next generation of engineers, programmers, scientists, and more. Catalyst volunteers come from a range of STEM professions and bring a wealth of real-world knowledge into the classroom. Here are two of our inspirational volunteers, who reflected on their time with the program:
On Tuesday, June 11th, Citizen Schools New York hosted our first annual WOW!NOW breakfast event. We invited all of the friends and families of Citizen Schools, including our corporate and foundation partners, our AmeriCorps Teaching Fellows and other staff members, our students and their family members, and our wonderful Citizen Teachers. The event included a showcase of our students’ great work from their semester-long apprenticeships, as well as a seated breakfast and program, during which we heard from some key members of the CS community.
As the school year comes to a close, our students at Citizen Schools New York are beginning to look towards the future. On June 19th, a group of Morgan Stanley volunteers visited our 6th and 7th grade students at Renaissance School of the Arts to provide advice and guidance through the Game of Life: Middle School Edition.
At a special event on Friday, June 14th, Citizen Schools New York celebrated the powerful service of our AmeriCorps service members. The evening was filled with reflections and recognition of those who set the bar high. We are filled with gratitude for all that our Teaching Fellows have achieved at their time at Citizen Schools. Thank you for your service!
On Friday, June 14th the National League of Cities, Make For All and Nation of Makers co-hosted a “Makers Mayor Collaboratory” in Chattanooga, Tennessee, coinciding with NOMCON, the national conference of maker community leaders. The Collaboratory brought together both mayors and maker organizations to identify areas where local elected officials and makers could work together. Mayors came from around the country, including cities and towns like Rexburg, Idaho; Salisbury, Maryland; Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania; and of course a Tennessee contingent of Knoxville, Tennessee and Chattanooga, Tennessee.
“Dear Mayor Curtatone,
I'm a student at the East Somerville Community School. I live in Somerville and I think affordable housing is important because people and families are losing their homes because rents are raising more than usual. [...] Kids’ best friends have to leave and move apart due to un-affordable housing. Please fix this issue. If you do, thanks.”
-Emily, 5th grade
Over 30 students from Renaissance Academy participated in the Wells Fargo Change the Future hackathon on Friday May 31st at PwC offices in San Jose, the culminating event of Citizen Schools’ semester-long Change the Future coding clubs. Teaching Fellows at both Renaissance campuses implemented rigorous weekly sessions where student groups designed application prototypes to solve an issue in their community. In preparation for the hackathon, students spent hours researching, designing, and creating business plans for their apps
In June of 2018, Citizen Schools was awarded a $2M grant from the Biogen Foundation as part of the foundation's recently announced STAR Initiative. As one of six recipients of the STAR (Science, Teacher Support, Access and Readiness) Initiative, funding will allow Citizen Schools to expand work in Somerville and Cambridge. One of the goals of this initiative is to show the impact that can be made when corporations partner with nonprofits, districts and communities so that other major corporations. Through this work, they hope to encourage other corporations to develop more of a partnership with their educational communities to provide more sustainable programs for children. The grantees from Star Network participated in an end-of-the-year STAR Initiative Showcase and Celebration on May 23rd at Lesley University to share the amazing work that was done over the past year.
At the end of each semester, we look forward to WOW! Week, a celebration of our students’ hard work from their apprenticeships. During this celebration, communities of family, friends, and volunteers gathered to view our students’ talents and skills through interactive presentations. Each of our four New York campuses held themed showcases to celebrate these accomplishments.
A celebration, of youth, community, and culture, brought together educators and volunteers on Thursday, May 23, to applaud students who had completed 10-week apprenticeships, all thanks to Citizen Schools, a non-profit that partners with middle schools across the United States to expand the learning day for children in low-income communities.
When five young women stepped up to present to the City Council on affordable housing, they demonstrated kids really are the future.
At the Somerville City Council’s May 23 full council meeting, five middle school students from the East Somerville Community School (ESCS) stepped up to share their research and thoughts on affordability in Somerville.
Many of our AmeriCorps members go on to achieve many accomplishments but the news of Jennifer Eliezer, AmeriCorps Teaching Fellow at Young Achievers in Mattapan, receiving the Fullbright Foreign Scholarship Award to teach abroad in Costa Rica, was beyond exciting. In her time here with Citizen Schools, Jennifer has built great connections with her students and we couldn’t be any more excited follow her journey.
At Citizen Schools, we envision a world in which schools, companies, and families partner to provide students with real-world learning experiences that put them on a path to college and career success. We are thankful for our growing group of service-minded volunteer partners who are passionate about closing the opportunity gap. Fostering relationships with non-profits and universities allows Citizen Schools to provide our students with a diverse group of caring and supportive mentors. This year for the first time, Citizen Schools New York hosted a Partnership Guest Week in late April.
This year, benefitEd was disguised as a mini mock trial. It was the Opportunity Gap vs. Citizen Schools. We honored the commitment of our long-time law partners, McDermott Will & Emery, Ropes & Gray, and Wilmer Hale. From start to finish, with close to 250 people in the room, once again, our students not only ran the show but stole it as well.
In the Citizen Schools apprenticeship, Carbon Footprint, students learn to research and analyze the carbon footprint of their school over the course of a 10-week period. Students develop skills around how to collect data, communicate with teammates, and eventually create an action plan for their school based on their findings.
This Spring is the second semester this class is offered at McKinley Institute of Technology (MIT) in Redwood City. Lead by a Citizen Teacher in her third semester, the current apprenticeship is taking experiential learning one step further, by engaging students in a process-oriented approach to increase effective recycling on campus.