Principal: "Citizen Schools Is My Secret Weapon"

Andrew Bott is the principal of Orchard Gardens K-8 Pilot School in Roxbury, MA. Citizen Schools has served as the lead expanded learning partner for sixth grade for three years. The following is adapted from his remarks at Citizen Schools' national fundraising event, A WOW! Affair, on April 3, 2013. The middle school students at Orchard Gardens K-8 Pilot School, where I serve as principal, have the benefit of Citizen Schools. And our middle school is where the truly amazing has happened.

As compared to other middle schools in the state of Massachusetts – all schools with grades 6, 7 and 8 -- our school has the number 1 student growth rate. Our students are learning at a faster rate than anywhere in the Commonwealth.

I know that the difference is Citizen Schools. I consider Citizen Schools to be my secret weapon in my middle grades.

Bott at podium

Another thing that is amazing to me is that most of the money Citizen Schools raises – 80% in fact – comes from pre-existing public dollars. This leaves Citizen Schools with the very achievable goal of raising the remaining 20% of direct costs through private philanthropy.

And that’s why I am asking you, who have given so much already to make Citizen Schools what it is. I ask you for your financial support this year so that Citizen Schools can continue to serve and grow.

I am a principal, and I can get 900 students in line without batting an eye. I am used to the challenges and the very unpredictable nature of my job, and I am used to fighting for what I know my students need.

I need Citizen Schools to continue their work at Orchard Gardens. The students need Citizen Schools to continue their work at Orchard Gardens. And all middle grade students in our city need Citizen Schools to grow and expand to partner with more schools like ours. You can make that possible.

Think about the team of people who made you who you are. About how much you owe your mentors, your teachers and your role models. Think about how much you can give to make sure that every single student in middle school has these same opportunities.

Please contribute now, and keep the amazing alive.