FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Google Supports Citizen Schools With Volunteers and Dollars $3.25 Million Grant Supports Hands-On, Expanded Learning Programs
BOSTON, MA, December 14, 2011—Citizen Schools, a national non-profit organization that partners with middle schools to expand the learning day for low-income students, today announced a $3.25 million dollar grant from Google.org to support its programs in 17 communities across the country.
The grant accompanies the personal participation of Google employees in Citizen Schools’ educational model. More than 350 Google employees have volunteered with Citizen Schools since 2006, teaching nearly 100 hands-on courses called apprenticeships with middle schools in New York, California and Massachusetts.
Each apprenticeship unites one or more volunteer adults with about 15 students from a partner middle school, to meet weekly for 11 weeks to complete a project in a real- world field. Google employees have taught curricula designed to bridge academic skills with real-world careers, including blogging, video game design, cell phone marketing, computer programming, mural making, and photography.
“Middle-school students, especially low-income students at higher risk of dropping out of high school, need to spend more time learning, and they need that time to be engaging,” says Eric Schwarz, co-founder and CEO of Citizen Schools. “When passionate adults from Google and elsewhere show them the connections between learning and future careers that look like fun, it translates into better performance in academics.”
Alan Su, a software engineer at Google in Cambridge, has taught nine apprenticeships in the last five years, including one on Android applications in which students from the Edwards Middle School in Charlestown presented the programs they had developed to an audience of peers, families and other Google employees.
The 60 Boston middle school students learning from Google employees this semester present their final projects at a “WOW!” near Google’s Cambridge office on December 15. Five apprenticeships, led by 15 volunteers, will be showcased for parents, Google employees, and a panel of Google judges. Projects include online games, robots, and food: one group of volunteers taught a “Top Chef” apprenticeship, whose dishes will be prepared at the event and judged by Google’s on-site chefs.
Google employees have also taught Citizen Schools apprenticeships at middle schools in other parts of the country—a grand total of 355 volunteers, teaching nearly 1,400 students about a wide range of subjects. In California, students at four schools from Campbell, Redwood City and Oakland have taken Google apprenticeships. In New York, Google volunteers have taught apprenticeships to students in seven middle schools, in East Harlem, Brooklyn, and the Bronx.
“Google’s deep commitment to education—especially to bringing technology and engineering to life for students—has set the bar for high impact, results-driven investment,” says Schwarz. “Their talent and resources are really moving the needle for students and schools.”
Citizen Schools’ apprenticeships are part of expanded learning partnerships with 31 middle schools in seven states. The organization provides a “second shift of educators,” consisting of the volunteers plus AmeriCorps members and paid staff, to add 400 hours of learning time to schools’ traditional school year. Those hours, usually from 3 to 5 in the afternoon, comprise academic support and exposure to colleges and careers as well as apprenticeships, led by volunteers from a range of organizations, including Google.
In the next three years, Citizen Schools plans to increase the number of students served from 4,200 to 6,600, and evaluate the program’s effectiveness over time.
Citizen Schools is one of several dozen organizations receiving grants from Google.org at the end of 2011.
About Citizen Schools
Citizen Schools is a leading national education initiative that partners with middle schools to expand the learning day for children in low-income communities across the country through afterschool and expanded learning time programs. The organization mobilizes a second shift of afternoon educators, who provide academic support, leadership development, and “apprenticeships”—hands-on projects taught by volunteers from business and civic organizations. At 31 middle schools in seven states across the country, Citizen Schools students develop the skills they need to succeed in high school, college, the workforce, and civic life. Learn more about Citizen Schools’ programs and results at www.citizenschools.org.