Working Alongside Teachers, Volunteers Help Bring Real-World Learning Experiences to the Classroom

Leveraging the Community to Broaden Students' Horizons


Amy Hoffmaster, Managing Director of Program Innovation got the chance to sit down and chat with Melissa Arellano, a 7th grade science teacher at Sedgefield Middle Schools in North Carolina about her experience working in the Catalyst pilot program.

Amy Hoffmaster: How do you see volunteers as an asset in strengthening the deeper learning experiences you are facilitating with your students?

Melissa Arellano: One reason I was so excited to think about building relevant, authentic projects with real community connections is that it is particularly important to our school at this time as the demographics of our student population are changing considerably with redistricting and we want to ensure that we are meeting the diverse learning needs of all of our students. Bringing in community members from outside the building not only brings a whole lot of energy and fun to our lessons, but also creates opportunities to engage students in a dialogue about ways they can relate to and have agency within our broader community and vice versa.