PRESS RELEASE: Citizen Schools Partners with East Palo Alto School to Lengthen School Day

Contacts:Laura Martinez Marr, Citizen Schools California  Amika Maria Maran Guillaum, Principal Cesar Chavez & Green Oaks Academy Campus


Cesar Chavez Academy to Lengthen School Day this Fall

School Partners with Nonprofit Organization to Add Hours and Spur Positive Academic Outcomes

East Palo Alto, CA – August 31, 2011 – Ravenswood City School District announced today that it will partner with Citizen Schools, a national nonprofit that runs programs in Oakland, Campbell, Redwood City and thirteen other cities across the country, to lengthen the school day at Cesar Chavez Academy by over three hours each day for all sixth graders this school year.  The longer school day will also be implemented for a smaller cohort of seventh and eighth graders at the school.  In addition, Citizen Schools will be launching their 8th Grade Academy program at the school, working with eighth graders to prepare students for the transition from middle school to high school.

During the expanded hours, students will receive academic support, participate in a math “academic league” aimed at raising proficiency in math, and learn about what it takes to succeed in school and get into college.  In addition, students will sign up for “apprenticeships” where small groups of students will be matched with professionals from the community.  These volunteers will work under the supervision of Citizen Schools staff to teach students about different careers, professions, and increase student leadership skills. 

This announcement comes at a time of great momentum for longer school days nationally.  Both President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan have consistently called for longer days as part of their ambitious effort to reform the nation’s schools.  As school districts across the country focus on turning around our most challenged schools, more and more school leaders are turning to longer days as a strategy for school improvement.  In fact, a report released last month by the National Center on Time and Learning states that more than 1,000 schools and districts have expanded their schedules, innovating even in the face of financial adversity. 

“We are excited about the partnership with Citizen Schools, it will be a seamless expansion of our school day and will provide educational opportunities for students most in need of our time,” said Maria De La Vega, Superintendent Ravenswood City School District.

Citizen Schools has seen great success on similar initiatives nationwide. At expanded learning time partner schools across the country where data is available, the organization is seeing average annual gains in proficiency of nine percentage points in math and seven points in English Language Arts on standardized tests, positioning the organization to help schools erase or reverse achievement gaps in three to five years on average. Prior to partnering with Citizen Schools, test scores had been in decline at these schools. 

“We know that expanded learning time done right is an effective strategy for helping schools succeed,” said Joe Ross, Executive Director of Citizen Schools California. “Citizen Schools California is thrilled to partner with Cesar Chavez Academy to offer all students a longer school day that will provide new educational opportunities and drive student academic achievement levels.”

Founded in Boston in 1995, Citizen Schools has grown into a national network of thirty-one “campuses” – middle school partner sites – in low-income communities across seven states.  The California Citizen Schools program launched in 2004 and will serve 850 students and engage 300 volunteers in Bay Area communities this school year. 

About Citizen Schools Citizen Schools is a national nonprofit organization that partners with middle schools to expand the learning day for low income children across the country. Citizen Schools uniquely mobilizes thousands of adult volunteers to help improve student achievement by teaching skill-building Apprenticeships after school. The organization’s 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.

For Citizen Schools California specifics, visit here.