Teacher Co-Design Pilot: Fall 2017

Imagine a world in which building robots with engineers, designing experiments with researchers and developing flight paths with astronauts was the expectation in middle school science?  And a world in which every teacher had the training, tools and community support to bring this idea to life?  That is the exact set of questions Citizen Schools' school and district partners posed to us last spring - and the impetus for our newest design innovation: Catalyst

This summer, Citizen Schools began a 2-year pilot, with teacher design partners, to develop and test a new approach to classroom instruction - one that pairs teachers with community experts to deliver engaging, real-world projects in middle school classrooms.  It's our effort to ensure that all children have access to the deeper learning opportunities they crave, and that all teachers have the supports they need to build the skills and networks of our next generation leaders. Catalyst will help build the capacity of teachers, schools, parents and volunteers, while bringing learning to life for our students, by integrating our apprenticeships into the traditional school day classroom for students in grades 5 through 9.

Through the program, we provide a set of targeted supports for teachers, volunteers and parents, such as: a web-based platform where volunteers can offer their experience and skills to teachers soliciting support in classroom learning; project planning tools and resources that teachers and volunteers can use to plan and evaluate projects using evidence-based practices that drive SEL and 21st century skills; and a learning management system where users can learn how to plan, develop and execute programs.

Over the next two years, we will iterate, refine, and assess this program prototype in collaboration with an experienced group of certified classroom teachers. We launched our pilot with nine teachers, in three districts, across three states - California, Massachusetts and North Carolina.

Meet our first cohort of teachers:

Melissa Arellano.png

Melissa Arellano
6, 7, 8 Teacher and ESL Facilitator
Sedgefield Middle School, Charlotte, NC

"This project is building opportunities for students to learn from content experts, understand elements of culture in the school community and providing opportunities to support  students to give detailed, helpful feedback on one another’s work."

Katelyn Gilbert.png

Katelyn Gilbert
6th grade Social Studies Teacher
Ridge Road Middle School, Charlotte, NC

"Community activists, business leaders and city/government employees will help students find service opportunities and help them create videos to share their stories."

Dan Karaszewski.png

Dan Karaszewski
7th grade Social Studies
Ridge Road Middle School, Charlotte, NC

"I would like to ask students what issues they are concerned about in their community; create possible solutions to those issues. Students are observant and see problems within our society. They may not always have a means of communicating or sharing how they feel. This project will allow them civic engagement."

Carolyn McBean.png

Carolyn McBean
7th Grade Social Studies
Sedgefield Middle School, Charlotte, NC

"I have always been interested in project based learning but I was never sure how to get things started. I believe this project is the start of something revolutionary in the way I'll approach Social Studies."

Jacqueline Mulvehill.png

Jacqueline Mulvehill
6th grade History Teacher
Match Charter Public School, Boston, MA

"Students examine stereotypes in movies and learn about the impact of bias in the lives of community volunteers and develop their own ideas for solutions."

Jessica Nash.png

Jessica Nash
Teacher, Exceptional Children English/Language Arts/Literacy and Math
Sedgefield Middle School, Charlotte, NC

"This project will support students with diverse learning needs to collaborate Jessica is excited to work with other teachers  to design project-based learning experiences that build opportunities for students to apply their learning to real-world contexts."

Eboni Newton.png

Eboni Newton
8th Grade Science Teacher
Ridge Road Middle School, Charlotte, NC

"Volunteers from STEM fields will help provide a variety of research opportunities to enhance student learning (book/internet research, interviews, exploration of artifacts and primary source documents, field study, etc.) as students investigate local water quality challenges."

Kendall Pauling.png

Kendall Pauling
6th grade Social Studies teacher
Ridge Road Middle School, Charlotte, NC

"I’m interested in designing my curriculum to relate to real-world jobs with experts to assist student learning."

Brieana White.png

Brieana White
8th Grade Social Studies Teacher
Sheppard Middle School, San Jose, CA

"Alum Rock students and officials are working address students and families' concerns of deportation and will meet with local community members and officials to find a way to help with this community challenge."

Stay tuned for further updates throughout the year on our progress, lessons learned from our partners and stories from the field!