Last school year we made a shocking realization: only 40% of schools nation-wide currently teach computer programming - and that percentage is drastically lower in low-income communities. Add to that an increasing number of STEM jobs in the US with decreasing numbers of diverse, trained professionals to fill them. Our solution: offering students a year long opportunity to learn rigorous coding skills, build a high quality website, and be mentored by software engineers eager to inspire the next generation of coders.
On August 15th, we celebrated the hundreds of volunteers mentored and taught over 540 students in NYC with an evening of comedy at the PIT in Kips Bay. Laughter flowed freely as CTs mingled and some of NYC's funniest rising stars entertained our guests with an improv show to remember, including a brief improv appearance by CSNY's own CE Team!
On August 24th, Citizen Schools students from Urban Assembly Unison had the opportunity to visit the Afropunk festival site. The students experienced how the organization set up for their annual festival in Brooklyn. The staff at Afropunk emphasized the importance of “ going for what you want in life and never letting fear control your destiny".
Citizen Schools welcomes 21 new teaching fellows and 9 returning Fellows this year. The teachers spread out across four middle schools and three grade levels. Fellows bring diverse professional experience—as artists, social workers, entrepreneurs, and recent grads—into the classroom. Our Teaching Fellow cohort went through three weeks of Summer Institute. Our CSNY orientation is an opportunity to welcome our new staff to Citizen Schools, educate them about our mission and core values, and show them all we have to offer for academic, social and emotional learning. From the start, we want to make them feel like a part of the Citizen Schools family.
As summer’s blaze softens into autumn hues, our city’s children are back in the schoolhouse. For many students in the Boston Public Schools, summer was more productive, inspirational and fun than they expected. This is thanks to citywide work to replace traditional summer school with creative and research-based summer learning, as well as a growing commitment in Boston to ensure all students, regardless of family income, access a wide range of summer activities.
Students across Somerville are settling into a new school year. Just a few weeks ago they (nervously, excitedly, or even begrudgingly, I’m sure) returned to the classroom. They may or may not know they returned to a district that has been steadily racking up achievements and accolades in recent years. To name a few, on the 2016 MCAS, Somerville was the state-leading urban district for growth, the Brown School earned the prestigious Commendation School Award for outstanding growth, and Somerville High School remained the only Level 1 urban high school, a distinction they’ve held for the past four years. We should all be proud that our schools are on an upward trend. But we shouldn’t be complacent. These successes didn’t happen overnight.
When I first came to the school and found out that I had to stay in school till 4:45 I didn’t want to, and this was a mandatory thing for all grades that had Citizen Schools. I felt like this was just a waste of my time, but just two weeks in I loved staying after school because we learned a lot about people and their jobs and I learned about the kids in my class. They were all strange unfamiliar faces when I came but during Citizen Schools they became my friends.
Have you heard anything about DACA and/or DAPA? DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, DACA is an American immigration policy founded by the Obama administration in June 2012. Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents sometimes called Deferred Action for Parental Accountability, is a planned American immigration policy to grant deferred action status to certain undocumented immigrants. DAPA and DACA give immigrants opportunities such as employment, but there are some downsides to DACA and DAPA that affect many immigrants. DACA and DAPA programs do too little to protect undocumented immigrants while allowing them to legally stay in the US because their rights can be easily taken away and they don’t know if they can get citizenship. But others, like Republicans think that immigrants get too much support because there is too much spent on the immigrants.
People know me as the shy girl, the mute. But I want others to know that I am more than just shy. This is not who I really am, and Citizen Schools knows it’s not who I am. I have always had a fear of public speaking, and my mom always told me that it was just a phase. She, too, was shy and reclusive, but now she's a social butterfly. I hope to become more social like her to some extent. I just don't know where to start. My Citizen Schools writing coach told me that being scared to talk in public is all in my head and it's nothing to be afraid of. I use that advice everyday to help me in speak up in groups.
In the spring of 2011, Jose Melo, a fifth grader at the Dever McCormack School in Dorchester, MA, took his first apprenticeships with Citizen Schools: It’s All About Gummy Bears and Bootstrap. In the midst of learning the science behind what makes gummy bears gummy and what it takes to program a video game, he discovered an appetite for science and math. By the time he graduated from eighth grade three years later, Jose had completed a total of twelve apprenticeships through Citizen Schools - all of which had a focus on STEM.
This past week, I had the opportunity to sit with a group of rising Boston 9th grader girls, who were both graduates of our 8th Grade Academy program and summer interns at Citizen Schools. We gathered to talk about their experience with us and the ways in which Citizen Schools is – and isn’t yet – fulfilling its promise to help middle school students launch confidently into their high school years.
The STEM Mentoring Awards and Symposium are a platform to celebrate and encourage exceptional work taking place across the country. By bringing together a national community of policy makers, school leaders, industry partners, and philanthropists, we will share promising practices and raise awareness for cross-sector collaboration as an essential approach to meaningful education reform.
This summer, Citizen Schools welcomed its first cohort of Alumni High School Interns to its headquarters at 308 Congress St in Boston. Through a competitive application process, four Eighth Grade Academy alumni were selected, out of a pool of over 20 candidates, to participate in the inaugural High School Summer Internship Program.
Headquartered in Boston and founded by MIT engineers, New Valence Robotics (NVBOTS) has a mission to make 3D printing as easy as 2D paper printing. The company’s NVPro 3D printer, which features patented, automated part ejection capabilities that users have called “a game-changer,” fully launched in April 2016, though it was used in schools and STEM camps well before it was available to the general public.
Google handing over a big check to Citizen Schools in New York. Citizen Schools is a national nonprofit that partners with public schools to provide academic enrichment in under-served communities. The major financial investment of $500,000 from google will help launch a new coding academy pilot in our city students one on that will match one with a coding mentor from google.
Google's charitable arm announced yesterday that it has donated part of a $500,000 gift to support STEM programming education for middle school students in high-need Boston public school districts.
In partnership with Bank of America and the San Francisco Giants, 9 students from Citizen Schools were able to go on to the field and take positions on base before the game for the Kids Take the Field event. On top of that, students were able to meet the players while out on the field, an experience the students said that they would never forget.