FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Citizen Schools and Fidelity Investments ® Team Up to Help 8th Grade Students Be Better Prepared for High School and Beyond
National Partnership Will Expand 8th Grade Academy Program
BOSTON, April 20, 2010 – Citizen Schools, one of the nation’s leading education programs that partners with middle schools to extend the learning day with innovative academic and apprenticeship programs, and Fidelity Investments®, one of the world's largest providers of financial services, today announced a new collaborative educational partnership to help 8th grade students across the United States stay in school and give them unique opportunities for college and career exposure.
Based on the successful model founded in Boston, Citizen Schools’ national 8th Grade Academy program helps students attain the basic and real world skills they need to transition to high school, graduate, and succeed in college. Students spend afternoons and Saturdays doing activities specifically designed to meet the needs of 8th grade students, from high school preparation and navigation skills to college visits and apprenticeships taught by professionals from across a range of sectors. The program currently operates at 27 schools in 14 cities nationwide.
Fidelity’s support, which will include employee volunteer, monetary and in-kind support, will enable Citizen Schools to expand 8th Grade Academy to new sites, including five new schools and three new markets (New York City, Santa Fe and Albuquerque, NM) in the fall of 2010. Fidelity volunteers will participate in program activities, such as apprenticeship teaching and resume writing and interview skills coaching, in the new markets, as well as 8th Grade Academy programs in greater Boston, Raleigh-Durham and Charlotte, NC and Newark, NJ, near where Fidelity has offices. Fidelity’s support will also help Citizen Schools deepen its impact on students through ongoing program evaluation and innovation.
“Fidelity is thrilled to continue our more than decade-long partnership with Citizen Schools and focus our efforts around 8th Grade Academy,” said Sheila C. Cavanaugh, senior vice president of Community Relations for Fidelity Investments. “We know from the experts that helping middle school students make the connection between school and the ‘real world’ can have a tremendous impact on their long-term success. Mentors can also play a big role, by exposing them to all of the possibilities for their future education and career paths. Fidelity wants to help them find their way and stay on track.”
The 8th Grade Academy partnership is the first national initiative between Fidelity® and Citizen Schools. It is an extension of a twelve-year partnership between the two organizations in Boston, where both companies are headquartered.
“We are inspired by the work that Fidelity employees have already taken on through their apprenticeships and other activities over the years and are honored to even further embed that talent and passion into our work with 8th grade students nationwide,” said Emily McCann, president of Citizen Schools. “Fidelity and their employees are playing a significant role in setting thousands of students across the country on a path towards educational success.”
Since the relationship began in 1998, Fidelity has engaged hundreds of employee volunteers in educational activities through Citizen Schools programs. They have directly impacted several hundred students in more than 10 schools throughout the country. Specific activities include:
Organizing employee volunteers for Citizen Schools’ signature semester-long apprenticeships which provide after school learning opportunities for students in various trades Leading individual company-sponsored hands-on learning opportunities for middle school children in the Citizen Schools program on topics ranging from music to financial literacy Proactive involvement in creating teaching curriculum that is currently taught at multiple Citizen Schools locations across the US Design and implementation of large-scale service projects at middle school campuses across Boston Staffing Citizen Schools Alumni Services program events to help 8th Grade Academy graduates and their families with their transition to high school, college, and beyond
The company will continue to broadly support Citizen Schools program activities for students in all middle school grades (6-8), in addition to the new 8th Grade Academy partnership.
About Citizen Schools Founded in Boston in 1995, Citizen Schools is a leading national nonprofit organization that partners with middle schools to expand the learning day for low-income children across the country. The organization uniquely mobilizes thousands of adult volunteers to help improve student achievement by teaching skill-building apprenticeships. Programs blend these real-world learning projects with rigorous academic and leadership development activities, preparing students in the middle grades for success in high school, college, the workforce, and civic life. Citizen Schools currently operates at 37 middle schools in seven states, serving 4,400 students and engaging 4,000 volunteers nationwide.
Citizen Schools has been named as a national winner of Fast Company magazine's Social Capitalist Award three times and was chosen as a winner of the Skoll Foundation's Award for Social Entrepreneurship. Learn more about the organization’s programs, results, and plans to expand the learning day at www.citizenschools.org.
About 8th Grade Academy 8th Grade Academy is Citizen Schools’ “capstone” program targeted to address the specific needs of eighth grade students transitioning from middle school to high school. Based on the successful model in Boston, Citizen Schools’ national 8th Grade Academy program helps students attain the basic and real world skills they need to launch into high school, graduate, and succeed in college.
Recent analysis of the program concluded that it is succeeding in moving a group of low-income, educationally at-risk participants towards its desired outcomes of successful high school completion, advancement to college, and full participation in the civic and economic life of their communities. For example, the study showed that six in ten (59 percent) of students in the Boston 8th Grade Academy program selected high-quality, college-track high schools, compared to only 28 percent of their matched peers; and nearly nine in ten (87 percent) of Citizen Schools’ students graduated from high school in four years, compared to a citywide on-time graduation rate of 59 percent. In addition, nearly all (95 percent) of the program‘s high school graduates enrolled in college. In 2010, the 8th Grade Academy program will operate in 32 schools in 17 cities in California, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York and Texas.
About Fidelity Investments Fidelity Investments is one of the world's largest providers of financial services, with assets under administration of more than $3.3 trillion, including managed assets of $1.5 trillion, as of March 31, 2010. Founded in 1946, the firm is a leading provider of investment management, retirement planning, portfolio guidance, brokerage, benefits outsourcing and many other financial products and services to more than 20 million individuals and institutions, as well as through 5,000 financial intermediary firms. For more information about Fidelity Investments, visit www.fidelity.com.
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