Eight months ago, first time Citizen Teacher Matt Collier moved from the United Kingdom, where he worked with an education-focused volunteer program. Here in the U.S., Matt feeds his passion to make a difference in two ways: first, as a Citizen Teacher at the Renaissance School Of The Arts, where he teaches Math Mysteries and second, as a part of a company that collects and refactors old computers, donating them to schools and families lacking technical resources.
After weeks of intensive preparation, including Summer Institute and campus-based training, Citizen Schools New York welcomed more than 300 students during our Expanded Learning Time (ELT) Launch Week. Across two campuses, Renaissance School Of The Arts M.S. 377 and P.S. 157 Benjamin Franklin, excited faces filled our classrooms with anticipation. Teaching Fellows eased into their roles with all the necessary tools and energy needed to support our students. With over 20 apprenticeships such as Hydroponics, Google Girls in Charge, Capital One Coding Academy and Math Mysteries, the New York region is ready to introduce students to fascinating companies, helping them gain real world skills and broaden their horizons.
On Tuesday, June 11th, Citizen Schools New York hosted our first annual WOW!NOW breakfast event. We invited all of the friends and families of Citizen Schools, including our corporate and foundation partners, our AmeriCorps Teaching Fellows and other staff members, our students and their family members, and our wonderful Citizen Teachers. The event included a showcase of our students’ great work from their semester-long apprenticeships, as well as a seated breakfast and program, during which we heard from some key members of the CS community.
As the school year comes to a close, our students at Citizen Schools New York are beginning to look towards the future. On June 19th, a group of Morgan Stanley volunteers visited our 6th and 7th grade students at Renaissance School of the Arts to provide advice and guidance through the Game of Life: Middle School Edition.
At a special event on Friday, June 14th, Citizen Schools New York celebrated the powerful service of our AmeriCorps service members. The evening was filled with reflections and recognition of those who set the bar high. We are filled with gratitude for all that our Teaching Fellows have achieved at their time at Citizen Schools. Thank you for your service!
At the end of each semester, we look forward to WOW! Week, a celebration of our students’ hard work from their apprenticeships. During this celebration, communities of family, friends, and volunteers gathered to view our students’ talents and skills through interactive presentations. Each of our four New York campuses held themed showcases to celebrate these accomplishments.
A celebration, of youth, community, and culture, brought together educators and volunteers on Thursday, May 23, to applaud students who had completed 10-week apprenticeships, all thanks to Citizen Schools, a non-profit that partners with middle schools across the United States to expand the learning day for children in low-income communities.
At Citizen Schools, we envision a world in which schools, companies, and families partner to provide students with real-world learning experiences that put them on a path to college and career success. We are thankful for our growing group of service-minded volunteer partners who are passionate about closing the opportunity gap. Fostering relationships with non-profits and universities allows Citizen Schools to provide our students with a diverse group of caring and supportive mentors. This year for the first time, Citizen Schools New York hosted a Partnership Guest Week in late April.
At Citizen Schools, no role is more essential to the success of our students than that of the AmeriCorps Teaching Fellow. Citizen Schools National Teaching Fellows create extraordinary enrichment and academic support experiences for the students we serve the nation. On a daily basis, Fellows deepen connections between schools and parents, help to develop social-emotional skills through mentoring and coaching students, and facilitate hands-on learning opportunities through our apprenticeships
In the United States, there has been growing attention drawn to the staggering diversity gap that exists in the technology industry— as of 2018, less than 20% of the the tech workforce identifies as Black or Latino. While many agree that education is key to combating this trend, in 2016, only 15% of computer science degrees awarded in the United States were to students identifying as Black or Latino. Furthermore, less than 40% of K-12 schools in the United States offer computer programming courses. The continual lack of computer programming courses to children at an early age only serves to further the underrepresentation of people of color in the technology industry.
On the morning of Saturday, March 30th, in an effort to fight the growing opportunity gap in New York, a group of our dedicated supporters came together to attend a high-energy spin class at SWERVE Fitness. A huge shout-out to our 8 teams that were geared up for a morning of calorie-burning, endorphins-boosting fun. Thanks to their passionate efforts, we were able to raise $46,597!
In our ‘Crack the Case” apprenticeship, students learn to become insightful marketers through careful research and analysis. Last fall, students at Isaac Newton Middle School in New York, played the role of business consultant to Ben and Jerry’s, working to determine the best choice for their newest flavor.
Led by partners and staff at PwC, the global professional services firm, students research the popularity and profitability of different flavors, and ultimately worked to build a case for their ice cream flavor - and why it should be chosen.
National education nonprofit Citizen Schools is committed to helping all children discover and achieve their dreams. Their work equipping young people with the skills, access, and beliefs to succeed in college and career inspired Michelle Carter to make the leap to Boston, relocating from her North Carolina hometown, and help re-imagine the learning day in support of students across the country. Today, Carter serves as a Talent Business Partner and has supported staff in all six of the organization’s service regions.
On September 20, Citizen Schools New York held a screening of Teach Us All, a documentary film directed by Sonia Lowman. The documentary details the history of school segregation and educational inequality, and how these issues are still impacting schools in the United States. Much like the courageous efforts of the Little Rock Nine, the film highlights how young people are still at the forefront of disrupting educational inequities.
Guest Post By: Teresa Fan, Software Engineer, Google and Coding Academy Coach
These opinions are my own and not meant to officially represent Google.
This past year, I had the opportunity to serve as a coach for the first Citizen Schools Coding Academy program, and I had the very special experience of working with one particular student that made a lasting impression on me.
Each year, we excitedly look forward to WOW! student showcases, which celebrate the culmination of our students’ hard work throughout their apprenticeships. At these events, students get to show off all that they have accomplished and families, friends, and volunteers get to enjoy interactive presentations and other festive activities. Every campus in New York had a chance to shine with their very own campus celebration--complete with a pun-inspired theme.