Citizen Schools California is excited to grow its presence in both Oakland and San Jose in the 2014-2015 school year. We are proud to launch our program at Greenleaf K-8 School in Oakland and at William Sheppard Middle School in the Alum Rock School District in East San Jose. Our expansion to these two schools has been particularly exciting because both Greenleaf and Sheppard are in the unique position of being in launch mode themselves, allowing our Citizen Schools team to closely partner with school leadership on the ground level. Greenleaf K-8 is an elementary school in the heart of East Oakland that has recently expanded to include middle school--this year will be Greenleaf’s first year with an 8th grade class! Citizen Schools will serve 85 students at Greenleaf: the entire class of 6th graders and a cohort of 7th and 8th graders. The Citizen Schools team has been working closely with Principal Cameron Stephenson to build an exciting culture of academic excellence for the burgeoning middle school grades. Greenleaf is also one of three Citizen Schools campuses to participate in an innovative blended learning pilot this year. Citizen Schools is partnering with MIND Research Institute to pilot a blended learning math program that uses ST Math instructional software to focus on improving students’ core math skills. Blended learning, which pairs computer-aided instruction with face-to-face classroom methods, will enable our staff at Greenleaf to offer more personalized and more efficient academic math support during the expanded day, resulting in increased proficiency leading to long-term student success.
We are also excited to strengthen our collaboration with the Alum Rock Union Elementary School District in San Jose by launching our program at William Sheppard Middle School, which was newly split into two separate academies this year: ATLAS and AVID. Spurred by the demand of its teachers to provide students with more experiential learning experiences, Sheppard separated from one campus into two themed school experiences--AVID Academy emphasizes college readiness, while ATLAS Academy has a more specific focus on service learning. The school within a school model allows for increased family engagement as students and parents determine which academy’s focus is best for them. While the academies are distinct, all 6th grade students at Sheppard (and a cohort of 7th and 8th graders) are participating in Citizen Schools, uniquely positioning our program and our staff as the thread that binds the two academies. In fact, teachers and school leadership at Sheppard have been using Citizen Schools to align norms between the two academies, looking to Citizen Schools to develop student expectations, consequence and reward systems, classroom behavior standards, and much more.
We are so lucky to partner with these two new schools within districts that share our vision to provide enhanced experiential learning through an expanded school day and we are eagerly anticipating all that our students will accomplish this year!