AT&T asserts that, “Every student deserves opportunities to reach his or her full potential. By removing barriers, sparking innovative solutions and making connections, we can help every student achieve a bright, successful future.”
AT&T brings that commitment to life at Citizen Schools through its investment in 8th Grade Academy (8GA) and national programs that prepare rising 9th graders for success in high school and beyond.
8GA is the capstone program year of middle school where students “build a bridge” of knowledge and skills to support their transition to high school. Through every program element, we focus on providing students with unique opportunities that build upon their previous Citizen Schools experiences and further build out their socio-emotional skills - namely social awareness, self management, self efficacy, and growth mindset.
This year, with AT&T’s support, we have launched 3 newly designed programs, created in three Citizen Schools regions, all on a trajectory for growth and replication throughout our network:
1. Career Exploration: California
Through the Career Exploration Program, Citizen Schools California partners with various Bay area corporations to open students’ worlds to careers in finance, science, technology, sales, human service, marketing and more through this ten-week course where students visit corporate partner offices, gain important career building skills and learn about the professional opportunities that await them. Students are visiting several leading corporate partner offices this semester – with AT&T in San Ramon in the planning for next semester.
Serving students both in Oakland and San Jose, Career Exploration also offers our partner organizations the opportunity to showcase their workplace, what makes them unique and what they offer to our amazing future workforce.
2. Coding Academy: New York
In September, with AT&T’s support, Citizen Schools New York launched Coding Academy with students from Isaac Newton Middle School. Throughout this year-long pilot, students will attend 15 off-site coaching sessions with volunteers from a leading tech company and will also receive more than 10 hours of concentrated classroom instruction with Citizen Schools staff. Utilizing ScriptED coding curriculum, volunteer technologists guide our students through projects like building a web page using basic CCS selectors and jQuery to write the actual code. Volunteers will mentor students as they discover and build their skills in coding and creativity. This is the first 1:1 mentorship program specifically with tech volunteers.
3. Summer Internships and Alumni Leadership Council: Massachusetts
Citizen Schools Massachusetts launched 2 pilot programs designed to engage Citizen Schools student alumni through their high school years:
Internship Program: Last June, 5 high school students and Citizen Schools alumni were selected to participate in a newly designed paid summer internship at Citizen Schools headquarters. In addition to completing independent project work for various departments, the interns participated in a Career Exploration program that took them to places like Merck, Ovia Health, Deloitte, Harvard Business School, and Google. We expect to double the size of the program next summer, and include our corporate partner companies as worksites.
Alumni Leadership Council: 18 young high school students and 8GA alumni have joined this newly formed council. The Council meets regularly and works to support our current 8GA students and to create a network to help Citizen Schools better serve all alums. Council members receive training and support on leadership and skill development, as well as participate in college and city explorations, which included a visit Harvard Medical School.
AT&T Aspire creates connections that drive innovation in education. We are pleased to utilize AT&T’s investment in our rising 9th graders to design, test, modify and grow these exciting new approaches for preparing our young people for the future that awaits them.