Press Release: James Monroe Elementary to Extend School Day This Fall

Chicago, IL – September 10, 2015 – In collaboration with Chicago Public Schools, Citizen Schools announced today that it has partnered with James Monroe Elementary to provide enhanced opportunities for many middle school students, beginning in the fall. Citizen Schools will provide the academic support and real-world learning projects necessary to set students on a trajectory of college and career success. The national nonprofit runs programs at four other public elementary schools in Chicago and dozens of other schools across the country. The school day will be lengthened by nearly two hours for all 90 students in grade 7, as well as another 70 students in grades 6 and 8, in the 2015-2016 academic year and will extend to 300 middle school students in all three grades within the next 2-3 years.

Citizen Schools partners with public schools to strengthen and expand the learning day for middle school students in low-income communities by mobilizing a team of AmeriCorps educators and volunteers to teach real-world learning projects and provide academic support in English Language Arts and math. AmeriCorps Teaching Fellows lead differentiated instruction with small groups of students, blending learning programming, and homework help. Volunteers from local companies teach hands-on “apprenticeship” projects for 10 weeks each semester, modeling success for the students in different ways and helping them make connections between their current academics and a future career pathway. For example, Google engineers teach robotics and United Airlines pilots teach aerodynamics and aviation operations.

Students also participate in college and career readiness activities including field trips to high schools, colleges, and museums. The importance of college and introductions to diverse career pathways also come through in every apprenticeship lesson and through the relationships with the AmeriCorps Teaching Fellows who are at the school full-time.

“We are very excited to partner with Citizen Schools,” said Ricardo Trujillo, Principal of James Monroe Elementary. “Exposing students to the vast array of career options during the critical middle school years will not only help students prepare for the future but will foster greater engagement in school now.”

“We look forward to partnering closely with James Monroe Elementary and surrounding community as we work together to accelerate student achievement and engagement,” said Erin Linville, interim Executive Director of Citizen Schools Illinois. “We know from our 20 years of work nationally – and three in Chicago - that when students have opportunities to learn from and be mentored by Motorola engineers, MB Financial bankers, Deloitte consultants, and scientists from Adler Planetarium, they most often achieve at higher levels on standardized assessments, grades and attendance. Learning really comes to life.”


This announcement comes at an important time as the opportunity gap continues to widen in many communities. Research shows that by age 12, a child from an affluent family will have received 6,000 more hours of enrichment activities, including academic tutoring and science clubs, than a child from a less affluent family. By connecting students to adults from a variety of professions, they are exposed to careers they might have even known existed previously while building the skills and relationships they need to succeed in high school, college, and a career.

About Citizen Schools

Citizen Schools is a national nonprofit organization that partners with middle schools to expand the learning day for children in low-income communities. Citizen Schools mobilizes a team of AmeriCorps educators and volunteer “Citizen Teachers” to teach real-world learning projects and provide academic support in order to help all students discover and achieve their dreams.

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