Bringing the Classroom into the Community

RTI ExplorationThroughout the year, Citizen Schools North Carolina students have had many opportunities to explore future college and career options while connecting with their community and expanding their 21 Century skill sets. These Explorations!, or field trips, provide tangible connections for students between their school day learning, our program, and their future goals. Explorations! supplement the real-world learning students encounter in their Citizen Schools apprenticeships, which are ten-week projects led by volunteer Citizen Teachers on topics including electrical engineering, trial law, financial literacy and much more. In February, students at Lowe’s Grove Middle School visited North Carolina State University (NCSU) to learn more about attending college. During the Exploration!, students spoke with current NCSU ROTC students, which inspired Jeison to look into JROTC opportunities in high school next year. The college students fielded many questions from the eager middle school group while providing a tour of a few academic buildings. Kiara, a self-proclaimed future student of NCSU, stepped seamlessly into a leadership role as she acted as a peer tour guide for the rest of the group. Citizen Schools students wrapped up the tour by participating in a scavenger hunt at NCSU’s Gregg Museum of Art and Design.

UNCC Trip MLKIn Charlotte, more than 60 sixth-grade Citizen Schools students from Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School experienced college life first-hand as they explored the campus of UNC Charlotte in March. Students toured the Fretwell Building’s auditorium-style classrooms, walked through the Quad, lounged in the Student Union and cheered for the Charlotte 49ers as they defeated the Saint Joseph’s Hawks 52-40 in Halton Arena. The students also admired some of the public art found throughout the campus grounds and were most intrigued by Bobbie Carlyle’s Self Made Man sculpture depicting a man carving his own form out of bronze – essentially defining his character and shaping his own future. One of the students, Kayla, explained that the sculpture “shows you can do anything.”

At Neal Middle School, 40 Citizen Schools students earned a chance to mix and mingle at the Radio Disney Career Fun Fair, hosted by EMC. Our students, along with ten more from the school day, were chosen to attend this special Exploration! as a celebration of their academic growth and achievement. At the career fair, students networked with radio DJs and STEM professionals from some of the top companies in Research Triangle Park, including EMC, Cisco, and AT&T. Students also participated in hands-on STEM and teambuilding activities and toured the EMC campus where they saw cutting-edge technology - some of which hasn't even been released yet! The career fair also offered music, games, STEM trivia, and prizes provided by Radio Disney. It was a great experience for all!

Interested in volunteering or hosting an Exploration!, contact us at and visit to learn more.

What else have our students explored? Take a look at this list of all Explorations! for this academic year:

  • AMF Durham Bowling Alley
  • Bank of America Corporate Center
  • Central Piedmont Community College
  • Charlotte-Mecklenburg Animal Care and Control
  • Charlotte-Mecklenburg County Courthouse
  • Cisco Systems, Inc.
  • College Fair in Raleigh
  • Cordelia Park
  • Duke University
  • Duke University Fuqua School of Business
  • Duke University School of Law
  • Durham Athletic Park
  • EMC
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Falls Lake State Park
  • Falls Village Golf Course
  • Fidelity Investment Center
  • Frankies
  • Green Acres Farm
  • Homegrown City Farms
  • Microsoft
  • Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University
  • North Carolina Central University
  • North Carolina Central University School of Law
  • North Carolina Museum of Art
  • North Carolina State University
  • Northern High School
  • Radio Disney
  • Sarah P. Duke Gardens
  • Snakes Alive
  • UNC Chapel Hill
  • UNC Charlotte