Citizen Teacher

Congratulations to the Presidential Volunteer Service Award Winners!

As we say here at Citizen Schools, it takes a village to serve our students. Among the leaders in that village are volunteer Citizen Teachers, who play a critical role in introducing students to engaging opportunities and diverse careers. During the 2015-2016 school year, over 2,300 Citizen Teachers taught more than 1,000 apprenticeships, impacting over 5,300 students across our network.

psa eagle

Each year, The President of the United States recognizes those who volunteer for causes across the country through the President’s Volunteer Service Awards. Hundreds of our Citizen Teachers are among the recipients.  For some, this is their very first honor. For others, it is part of a collection of Presidential Awards, representing the many semesters they have returned to teach. For all, this is a testament to their civic leadership.

This year, 398 volunteer Citizen Teachers received recognition from the President at the gold, silver, and bronze award levels. Each level corresponds to a specific level of engagement - and reflects an incredible investment in the students we serve:

  • 67 Gold award winners for teaching four of the past four semesters
  • 83 Silver award winners for teaching three of the past four semesters
  • 248 Bronze award winners for teaching two of the past four semesters

Volunteers from our National Leadership Partners (Biogen, Cisco, Cognizant, and Fidelity Investments) accounted for 45  awards, and 80 of our partner companies were represented in the overall total.

We are celebrating these volunteers around the network throughout the summer at WOW!s and at Citizen Teacher social events. This award is a meaningful way to reinforce the impact Citizen Teachers have on the community, and a way to show our appreciation for their commitment to sharing their knowledge and passion with students.

Please join us in celebrating their dedication!

GOLD

Adam Richlin-Freelance Cinematographer, NY Alex Lawing-UNC,NC Allie Temkin-Common Threads,IL Amanda Kaufman-US Environmental Protection Agency,NC Amelia Molina-TX Andrea Folmer-Bank of America,NC Anne Bowie-WilmerHale, LLP,MA Arthur Everett-EMC,NC Bargavi Errabolu-Deloitte,IL Bill Good-Massachusetts Youth Rugby Organization,MA Bin Wu-SanDisk,CA Brenda williams-Russell Williams Group,IL Bridget Tomes-Fidelity,IL Christopher Haid- New Valence Robotics,MA Cindy Gabriel-Deloitte, IL Cody Spencer-Chicago Public Schools,IL Dana Lindberg-Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky + Popeo PC,MA Daniel Oldman-EMC,NC David Schneier-Fidelity,NC Donna Fontana-Fidelity,NY Douglas Campbell-retired teacher, CA Ed Lau-Microsoft,NC Elena Satraitis-Motorola Mobility Foundation,IL Emily Biegner-Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers,MA Emily Hodge-Choate Hall + Stewart LLP,MA Erin Buckman-Credit Suisse,NC Francis Jang-SanDisk,CA Genevieve Aguilar Reardon-Choate Hall + Stewart LLP,MA George Mykulak-WilmerHale, LLP,MA Giovanni Green-Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza,NY Hannah Hannawi-Credit Suisse,NC Hio Lam Lao-Deloitte Consulting, LLP,IL Hong Zou-EMC,NC Jacob Rea-Fidelity,NC Jacqueline Mantica-Choate Hall + Stewart LLP,MA James Reid-Credit Suisse,NC Jamie Dickerson-Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky + Popeo PC,MA Jared Cohen-WilmerHale,MA Jean-Yves Ntamwemezi-Microsoft,MA Jennifer Blood-Freelance,NY Jerry Diehl-EMC,NC Joe Darko-Microsoft,NC Joel Burke-Kittehface Software,TX Josh Glazer-Bank of America,NY Kari Shearer-Shell Oil Company,TX Katherine Kelley-Digitas,MA Kelley Coyne-Women's Audio Mission,CA Kelsey Kreamer-Nielsen,NY Kerry Laidlaw,CA Leora Rodenstein-WilmerHale,MA Lisa Berkshire-Motorola Mobility Foundation,IL Liston Rice-Shell Oil Company,TX Madison Gardner-Credit Suisse,NC Marty Stanton-Cisco,NYNJ Meeghan Salcedo-Cognizant,NJNJ Michael Bevilacqua-WilmerHale,MA Philip ArmstrongBank of America, NC Robert P.Mersereau-Aldrich Astronomical Society,MA Roland Labana-Motorola Mobility Foundation,IL Rosema Hermano-EMC,CA Ryan Futrell-Fidelity,NC Sanjay Kadiwala-Motorola Mobility Foundation,IL Sean Anderson-Fidelity,IL Sonya Johnson-CPCC STARS Alliance,NC StevenCooper-SanDisk,CA Steven Garza-Boy Scout of America,TX Susan Freeman-Northeastern University,MA

BRONZE

Adaeze Ezeh-Synaptics Inc.,CA

Adam Harbour-SanDisk,CA

Aditya Jeet-Google, NY

Ahmed Elsayed-Hikvision Usa, Inc. IL

Albert Cheng-ADEA NYU Chapter,NY

Alena Golovchenkol-Ernst & Young LLP,NY

Alexandra Ross-EPA,NC

Alexandra RiewerMotorola Mobility,IL

Alfred Reed-Bank of America, NC

Alice Saiki-Cisco,CA

Alice McCormack-ExpressJet Airlines,TX

Alison Dally-Bank of America,NYNJ

Amanda Marvelle-Biogen,NC

Amanda McKibbin-Biogen,NC

Amber Haskell-MFS Investment Management,MA

Ana Linton-Intralinks,NYNJ

Anant Shukla-Google,NYNJ

Andrew Puckett-Fidelity,NC

Angela Tessin-Cisco,CA

Anil Koluguri-EMC Corporation,NC

Ann Guilinger-athena health,MA

Anne Coulombe-Intralinks,MA

Annie Martin-Athena Health,MA

Anthony Furino-Newberry Campa Architects,TX

Anya Estrov-Google,NY

Arbora Malushi-Northern Trust Bank,BOSMA

Arturo Perez-EF Education,MA

AshleyAppiagyei,NC

Ashley McFarland-Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated,NC

Barbara Serven-Massachusetts Department of Criminal Justice Information Services,MA

Bashir Afzaliself-employedCA

Bernardine Bernard-BNY Mellon,MA

Beth Bond-ForGoods,IL

Bill Joyce-Fidelity,MA

Brad Seiler-Square,NY

Bradley Mertes-American Eagle Airlines,IL

Brandon Duncan-Keller Williams Preferred Realty,NC

Brent Ramsey-Massachusetts Department of Transportation,MA

Brian Dailey Eaton-Vance Management Inc,MA

Brian Peltonen-Fidelity Investments,MA

Britton Picciolini-Google,IL

Brooke Callahan-American Express,NYNJ

Brian Towey-Cognizant,NC

Caio Mattos-CapitalOne,NY

Caitlin Cook-ExpressJet Airlines,IL

Carla KupeArion-National Organization of Black Law Enforcement - Chicago Metropolitan Chapter,IL

Carol Rosenberg-Google,NYNJ

Catherine Lee-NYU College of Dentistry,NYNJ

Cayla Yang-EMC,MA

Celeste Brown-Schweitzer Fellowship,NC

Charles Knipper-Deloitte Tax LLP,IL

Chavi PayalSharma-YW Boston,MA

Chi Le-Wayfair LLC,MA

Chivas Nambiar-Verizon Corporation,MA

Chris Otto-Otto Family Foundation,IL

Christine Okike-Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP,NYNJ

Christopher McIndoe-Stoneturn Group, LLP-MA

Chuck Shaw-Google,NYNJ

Cindy Song-Ernst & Young,NYNJ

Claire Keady-Bank of America,MA

Clarke Egerton-Fidelity,NC

Clementina Nunez-City of Houston,TX

Dan Burton-Google,CA

Danielle Hurlburt-Ernst + Young,NYNJ

Darrell Ford-DRF Industries, LLC,TX

David Dillon-VMware,MA

David Landry-Verizon Corporation,MA

David Saff-Google,MA

Dawn Webb-Bank of America,NC

Dax Novak-LENDING CLUB,CA

Dennis Arrowsmith-Houston Grand Opera,TX

Derek Lin-NYU School of Medicine,NY

Devika Dhawan-American Express,NY

Diana BatistaLa-Economica Meat Market,MA

Dmitriy Zemel-Pratt Institute,NY

Donna Steadman-Hines Inc.,TX

Dwayne Jones-Fox Sports Network,NC

Edina Lemo-Cushman & Wakefield, Inc.,NY

Eli Wylen-Google,MA

Elizabeth Fargo=Intralinks,NY

Elle Song-Microsoft,NC

Eric Biegeleisen-Broadmeadow Capital,MA

Farah Ali-Citizen Schools Club,NY

Fernanda Sanovicz-School of Visual Arts, NYNJ

Forrest Pieper-New Valence Robotics,MA

Frankee Bullock-Fidelity,NC

Gabrielle Bailey-Wayfair LLC,MA

Gilbert Chaidez-Unity Care,CA

Gina Coletti-Northern Trust,MA

Giriraj Vaithulu Gopal-Cognizant,NYNJ

Godffrey David brown-Oakland School Police,CA

Grant Brown-UBS Financial Services - NYIL

Griffin Mueller-Cisco,NC

Harry Bullen-Google,NYNJ

HilarySmith-Citizen Schools,CA

Hirashini Shanmugaraj-Google,CA

Jack Fleming-Athena Health,MA

Jake Jagust-Deloitte Tax LLP,IL

Jake Sherin-Motorola Mobility,IL

James Woody-Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated,NC

James Shipley-National Amateur Sports,NC

Jane Parris-Phillips Exeter Academy,MA

Janelle Arthur-H.E.R. Heart Foundation INC,NY

Javar Christian-Bank of America,NC

Jeanne Harran-Intralinks,MA

Jeffrey Easton-Fidelity,NYNJ

Jennifer DiCola-Fidelity,IL

Jeremy Eisemann-Liberty Mutual Group,MA

Jesse Parker-The Nieslen Company,NY

Jessica Lyssy Perry Homes,TX

Ji YunHan-NYU College of Dentistry,NY

Jin SupShin-NYU College of Dentistry,NY

John Studley Jr-EXOS/Google,MA

John Bliss-SCI Consulting Group,CA

John Spreer-Lending Club,CA

John Gagne-United Continental Holdings, Inc.,IL

John Lisy-UBS Financial Services,IL

Jonathan Tang-Aztec Technologies,MA

Jonathan Calhoun-Bank of America,NC

Jonathan Kwan-Raytheon Company,MA

Josefa Palma-Legal & General,IL

Joseph Dunn-Fidelity,NC

Jovan Oliver-New Jersey Institute of Technology,NJ

JuliaRoberts-NJIT,NJ

Julie Palomba-Amplify,NJ

Justyna Malz,MA

Kadia Tubman-Nielsen,NY

Karen L.Pickerill-PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP,NY

Kavita Ramachandran,NJ

Kaydene Bennett-Pricewaterhouse Coopers,NY

Kelly Petrich-Cisco,CA

Kemena Brooks-Laurel Street Residential,NC

Kenneth Wade-Corvisa,IL

Kenon Fachon-Wayfair LLC,MA

Kevin Cullen-Fidelity,MA

Keyna Chow-Ropes & Gray,CA

Khalil Um'rani-North Side Credit Unions,IL

Kimberly Amick-Biogen,NC

Kiza Forgie-AIA - Houston Chapter,TX

Koren Underdue,NC

Kristen Thomas-Wayfair LLC,MA

Kristen Carroll-Citizen's Schools (Baylor College of Medicine,)TX

Laila Ameri-WilmerHale,MA

Lauren Johnson-Common Threads,IL

Lea Kilraine-Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

Lisa Xia-Nielsen,NY

Lori Egan-Bank of America,MA

Louise Bhavnani-City of Charlotte,NC

Lucero Luna Miranda-Girls Who Code,NY

Lucy Vasserman-Google,NY

Lyndon Tran-Citizen Schools Club NYUCD,NY

Lynne Crawford-Cisco,CA

Madelyn Herzog-FoodCorps,MA

Manali Mehta-Shell Oil Company,TX

Mari Badger-Self Employed,MA

Mario Calzetta-ExpressJet Airlines,TX

Mary Ann Fiscus-Motorola Mobility,IL

Mary T.Howard-Soaring Birds,MA

Mat WolffA-IA - Houston Chapter,TX

Max Simchowitz-Capital One,NY

Megan Wagner-Motorola Mobility Foundation,IL

Megan Petrik-Bank of America,NC

MeredithMcWeeney-Citizen Schools,CA

Mical Nobel-Athena Health,MA

Michael Merritt-Motorola Mobility Foundation,IL

Michael Riley-Goulston & Storrs,MA

Miguel Betancourt-Rice University,TX

Morgan Matthews-Ernst & Young, NY

Najla Long-Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom LLP,NY

Nathaly Lozano-Verizon Corporation,MA

Nathania Reid-Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP,NY

Nedum Aniemeka-Project Exploration,IL

Niccole Marcial-Colgate-Palmolive,NJ

Nicole Mahoney-Lending Club,CA

NicoleBrown-LS3P Associates LTD,NC

Nikhil Nathwani-Microsoft,MA

Omoyeni Makindeomo-Yeni LLC,NY

Onalie Sotak-Google,MA

Oscar Teunissen-PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP,NY

Paris Cherry-YWCA,MA

Patrice Tanti-ThermoFisher Scientific,CA

Patrick Kennedy-Salem Access Television,MA

Patrick Gries-Motorola Mobility,IL

Paul Truong-SanDisk,CA

Pauline Vogl-Cisco,CA

Pell Osborn-Motion Art,MA

Peni Garber-ABRY Partners,MA

Praagyan Pokharel-VMware,MA

Prasanna Pilla-VMware,MA

Rachel Pollinger-Cambridge Associates,MA

Rachel Shack,WilmerHale-MA

Rachel Madsen-Legal & General Investment Management America,IL

Rajitha Chaparala-Intralinks, MA

Raquelle Kaye-Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP,NY

Rebecca Moles-Eaton Vance Management Inc.,MA

Rebecca Tang-Google,NY

Rebecca Carrizosa-Ropes & Gray,CA

Ricardo Martinez-Martinez Architects,TX

Richard Achee-Google,NYNJ

Richard Wolny-Motorola Mobility,IL

Richelle Mechenbier-Xylem Inc.,NC

Robert Mersereau Jr.-No 9 Park Restaurant,MA

Robert Taylor-Liberty Mutual,MA

Robert Ford-DRF Industries, LLC,TX

Robert Johnson-Tabernacle of Prayer For All People Inc.,NY

Rodrigo Chandia-Google Inc.,MA

Roger Pease-Enbase Solutions LLC,TX

Rosaland Hopkins-Fidelity, NC

Ruxandra Calin-EY,NY

Saba Jangda-Citizens School Club, NYUCD NY

Sabiya Bacchus-Munroe-Fidelity,NY

Sabrina Pham-Citizen Schools Club NYUCD,NY

Sam Polyak-Fidelity Investments,MA

Sameer Ahmed=WilmerHale,MA

Sara Li-Fidelity,MA

Sara Loudon-Ernst & Young LLP,NY

Sarah Michael-Baylor Pediatric Student Association,TX

Scarlet Vaickus-Motorola Mobility,IL

Seth Conyers-Northern Trust,IL

Shailesh Kumar-United Continental Holdings, Inc.,IL

Sheri Brazley-Common Threads,IL

Shirley Wells-Ernst & Young LLP,NY

Shoun Hill-The Associated Press,NY

Shruti Nagarajan-Cambridge Associates,RI

Simon Pilecki-King's Chapel,MA

Simon Kingaby-Piedmont Natural Gas,NC

Stephanie Moreno=Baylor College of Medicine,TX

Stephen Cross=Fidelity,MA

Stephen Friedenthal-Cisco,MA

Steven De Nicola-Nielsen,NY

Sudharsan Chandraprakash-Motorola Mobility Foundation,IL

Susan Gronbeck-US Trust,NY

Tracy Callahan-Biogen,MA

Tracy Horridge-Thermo Fisher Scientific,MA

Tristan Foley-Goulston & Storrs,MA

Tyrone Hall-Durham County Department of Public Health,NC

Valerie Young-athenahealth,MA

Victoria Gemme-New England Baptist Hospital,MA

Vincent Armentano-Northeastern University,CT

Vincent Passafiume-United Continental Holdings, Inc.,IL

Xiang Li-NYUCD,NY

Ya QingChen-NYUCD,NY

YikLam-Biogen,NC

Yolanda Brewer-National Organization of Black Law Enforcement - Chicago Metropolitan Chapter,IL

Zach Fields-Mintz Levin,MA

Zach Cloyd-Ropes + Gray,MA

Zachary Zuniga-Scribe America,CA

SILVER

Alexandra Reynolds-WilmerHale,MA Allison Levin-Fidelity,IL Anne-Marie Stevenson-Latta Plantation Nature Center,NC Ashok Moghe-Cisco,CA Benjamin Lucas-Yeshiva University,NY Bijal Shah-Credit Suisse, NC Bob France-SanDisk, CA Bradley Wynn-Legal & General Investment Management America,IL Brandi Williams-Polished Pebbles,IL Brendan Nolan-Piedmont Natural Gas,NC Brian Smith-Dominion Solution Corporation,TX Carol Lenox-US Environmental Protection Agency,NC Carrie Isaacman-Independent,NYNJ Christine O'Donnell-Bank of America,NYNJ Christine Style-Communications with Style,CA Claire Weber,CA Coleman Poag-EMC,NC Corey Cronin-City National Bank,CA Cory Spinney-Digitas,MA Daniel Burns-Deloitte,IL Dimitri Alves-Lockheed Martin,NJNJ Doug Leonard-Coca-Cola Bottling Co.,NC Douglas Reagan-Cisco,NJNJ Emily Thomas-Rice University,TX Eric Teasdale-Choate Hall + Stewart LLP,MA Eric Friedman-eSkill Corporation,NY Eric Frackleton-Microsoft,MA Ethan Apter-Google,MA FadiAfa Al-Refaee-SanDisk,CA Harriet Hoder-Wilmerhale,MA Itzik Gilboa-SanDisk,CA James Hershberger-Houston Grand Opera,TX Jason Lee-Intel Corporation,CA Jeffrey Whitley-Shell Oil,TX Jody Weber-Bank of America Corporation,MA John Ryan-Fidelity,MA Jorge Nava Piedmont-Natural Gas,NC Julia Wrobel-Columbia University,NYNJ Julia Conner-Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department,NC Kaela O'Donnell Belk, Inc,NC Kate Mohorn-SAS Institute,NC Kelly Flook-Thermo Fisher Scientific,CA Kenneth Barron-Fidelity,NC Kesha Diamond-Apthorp Pharmacy,NYNJ Kim Kiesow-EMC,NC Lauren Riley,MA Leah Segal-WilmerHale,MA Luke Fernandes-Legal and General Investment Management,IL Marcos Guerrero-Motorola Mobility Foundation,IL MARK FULLMAN-DELOITTE TAX LLP,IL Meghan Bourke-Legal & General Investment Management America,IL Mica Warton-YWCA,MA Michael Walker-Alexander/Ryan Marine & Safety,TX Michael Silver,IL Monica Hauser-Motorola Mobility Foundation,IL MorganMoss-New Valence Robotics,MA Moriska Selby-The Correctional Association of New York,NYNJ Niamh Fitzgerald,IL Nisha Saboo-Deloitte Tax LLP,IL Nykeya Woods-True Star Foundation,IL Paschell Sutton-Jersey City Board of Education,NY Penny Temple,NY Qian Cheng-ADEA NYU Chapter,NY Rachel McIntosh-Kastrinsky-ASPPH/EPA,NC Rachel Stout-Houston Public Library,TX Rebecca Holub-Google,NY Reginald Liger-Cisco,NC Roy Fralin-Fidelity Investments,NC Seth Moskowitz-WilmerHale,MA Shira Schindel-Litographs,NY Shruti Gopinathan-Johnson Controls,CA Shuran Liang-Citizen Schools Club NYUCD,NY Siva Krishna Titti-Cognizant,NYNJ Susie Forbath-Athena Health,MA Swati Gokhale-Cognizant,CA Tej Gokhale,CA Tiffany Feng-Digitas,MA Travis Smith-Shell Oil Company,TX Vanessa Gaskin-Ernst & Young LLP,NY Victor Chow-NYUCD,NY WaiMay Chee-PwCNY,NY William-Merritt-Bank of America,NC Yana Malysheva-Google,MA Yasmilka Clase,NY

Coding: The Building Blocks of Imagination!

Citizen Teachers While many middle schoolers love to play Mario Kart, Legend of Zelda, and Angry Birds, not many get to play video games they designed themselves. Neither had the students at Edison Middle School until they took “Video Game Design” with Roger Pease. “All of them had used computers before, but not many of them had ever been exposed to computer programming. I wanted to show them that it was accessible,” Pease said.

Pease, who works as an embedded program developer at software company Enbase LLC, taught the students how to program their own version of Frogger, a popular 1981 arcade game in which the player helps a frog cross a highway and a river to get to safety while avoiding oncoming cars, logs, or alligators.

“We chose Frogger because it involved a number of different aspects (of programming) but wasn’t too complicated,” he said.

Pretty soon, the students wanted to do more than move the frog back and forth.

“Some kids wanted to create a chess game or replicate the Game of Life. I would tell them that it was a great idea and that they could do it someday.”

So how did Roger transform these middle school students into tech-savvy game designers?

It was not always an easy journey, especially since he only had one assistant, an AmeriCorps teaching fellow, to help him teach the class.

“When you teach computers you have to be really detail oriented and sometimes you say something in a way kids don’t understand. It was hard not to have another person who understood the material there to correct me.”

About halfway through the apprenticeship though, the students were creating their own virtual worlds. The setting for the original Frogger is the highway, the river, and a bare patch of green in between. They decided to revamp the landscape by making extra ponds and trees to dot the blank scene. When trees and ponds became too basic, they moved on to creating new characters and new cars (Ferarris, of course!)

One environmentally conscious student, who was tired of the streets and roads, even changed the entire highway scene to create a dirt path with bikes! These students were building their own worlds not with bricks and mortar, but with JavaScript and HTML.

Sometimes though, students mastered codes and commands without the help of a teacher! And sometimes, they even discovered something that wasn’t part of the curriculum to begin with!

“One girl had figured out how to make the cars move in different directions. I hadn’t even taught her that. She learned it just from paying attention!”

Of course, when learning something that is so technical and detail oriented, it is always helpful to have a helpful and understanding mentor.

“Patience and kindness flowed out of him easily, and never have I ever seen him frustrated with a child. He would sit down with each of them, take his time to explain if they were having trouble, and kept them on track with the goal of the apprenticeship,” said Helen Tai, the AmeriCorps Teaching Fellow who taught the class alongside Pease.

Pease’s secret to mentoring middle school students: stay the course and don’t expect a reward right away.

“They’re not automatically going to be excited about things as you may be. Many may decide that computer science isn’t for them, but I wanted to show them that it was something they could do.” Please join us in congratulating Roger Pease as Citizen Teacher of the month.

Congratulations to the Presidential Volunteer Service Award Winners!

As we say here at Citizen Schools, it takes a village to serve our students. Among the leaders in that village are volunteer Citizen Teachers, who play a critical role in introducing students to engaging opportunities and diverse careers. During the 2014-2015 school year, over 2,300 Citizen Teachers taught more than 1,000 apprenticeships, impacting over 5,300 students across our network.

psa eagle

Each year, The President of the United States recognizes those who volunteer for causes across the country through the President’s Volunteer Service Awards. Hundreds of our Citizen Teachers are among the recipients.  For some, this is their very first honor. For others, it is part of a collection of Presidential Awards, representing the many semesters they have returned to teach. For all, this is a testament to their civic leadership.

This year, 422 volunteer Citizen Teachers received recognition from the President at the gold, silver, and bronze award levels. Each level corresponds to a specific level of engagement - and reflects an incredible investment in the students we serve:

  • 61 Gold award winners for teaching four of the past four semesters
  • 70 Silver award winners for teaching three of the past four semesters
  • 291 Bronze award winners for teaching two of the past four semesters

Volunteers from our National Leadership Partners (Biogen, Cisco, Cognizant, Fidelity Investments, and Google) accounted for 66 awards, and 80 of our partner companies were represented in the overall total.

We are celebrating these volunteers around the network throughout the summer at WOW!s and at Citizen Teacher social events. This award is a meaningful way to reinforce the impact Citizen Teachers have on the community, and a way to show our appreciation for their commitment to sharing their knowledge and passion with students.

Please join us in celebrating their dedication!

GOLD

Ailey Crow, CA - Pivotal Software, Inc.Albert Ching, CA - Google Alfonso Perez, MA - New Valence Robotics Amelia Molina, TX Andrea Folmer, NC - Bank of America Anne Bowie, MA - WilmerHale, LLP Arthur Everett, NC - EMC Arun Joseph, NC - EMC Becki Holub, NY - Google Bill Good, MA - Massachusetts Youth Rugby Organization Bin Wu, CA - SanDisk Brian Smith, TX - Dominion Solution Corporation Carol Lenox, NC - US Environmental Protection Agency Christopher Haid, MA - New Valence Robotics Coleman Poag, NC - EMC Daniel Oldman, NC - EMC Donna Fontana, NY - Fidelity Investments Douglas Campbell, CA Douglas Reagan, NJ - Cisco Ed Lau, NC - Microsoft Emily Hodge, MA - Choate Hall + Stewart LLP Emily Thomas, TX - Rice University Eric Frackleton, MA - Microsoft Eric Teasdale, MA - Choate Hall + Stewart LLP Erin Buckman, NC - Credit Suisse Gayle Moberg, NY – GDM Market Solutions Harry Bullen, NY - Google Hong Zou, NC - EMC Jacqueline Mantica, MA - Choate Hall + Stewart LLP James Reid, NC - Credit Suisse Jerry Diehl, NC - EMC Jesse Nocon, MA - Massachusetts Youth Rugby Organization Joe Darko, NC - Microsoft Joseph Eveillard, MA - Cambridge Adventure Day Camp Josh Glazer, NY – Bank of America Katherine Kelley, MA - Digitas Kelley Coyne, CA - Women's Audio Mission Kelly Flook, CA - Thermo Fisher Scientific Kerry Laidlaw, CA Kimone Gooden, CA - Cisco Kirstin Frazell, NY - Facebook Leanne Measroch, NC - Microsoft Linda Lazor, CA MacCalvin Romain, MA - Digitas Martin Stanton, NJ - Cisco Melanie Closs, NY – The Other Side Michael Bevilacqua, MA - WilmerHale, LLP Neil Jacobs, MA - WilmerHale, LLP Philip Armstrong, NC - Bank of America Prateek Sachdeva, CA - Oracle Rachel Stout, TX - Houston Public Library Rachele Louis, CA - Gensler Rebecca Dodder, NC - US Environmental Protection Agency Robert P. Mersereau, MA - Aldrich Estronomical Society Rosema Hermano, CA - EMC Ruth Gitlin, NY – Angelo, Gordon & Co. Shivani Mehta, NJ - Johnson & Johnson Sonya Johnson, NC - CPCC STARS Alliance Susan Dickey, CA - Google Victoria Ho, CA - Google William MacKrell, NC - SAS Institute

SILVER

Adam Richlin, NY

Aisha Davis, NC - Microsoft

Alex Lawing, NC - UNCC

Amanda Kaufman, NC - US Environmental Protection Agency

Ana Lopez, MA - Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky + Popeo PC

Andree Fryar, NC - Wells Fargo / Wachovia

Angela Berry, NC - City of Charlotte

Anne-Marie Stevenson, NC - Latta Plantation Nature Center

Aric Sangruchi, CA - Space Systems/Loral

Audrey Hoiles, MA - Cambridge Associates

Aya Rothkopf, CA - Space Systems/Loral

Bara Reyna, TX - NASA

Benjamin Eld, MA - Digitas

Bill Stitson, MA - Trip Advisor, LLC

Brian Conley, MA - Microsoft

Brianna Muhlenkamp, TX - Shell Oil Company

Chris Casanova, NC - Microsoft Corporation

Cindy Gabriel, IL - Deloitte

Cody Spencer, IL - Chicago Public Schools

Daniel Davison, NY - Bank of America

David Konczal, IL - Motorola Mobility Foundation

David Rahmani, TX - Shell Oil Company

Erika Schroeder, NY - Pratt Institute

Ethan Apter, MA - Google

Faris Werr, NC - Wells Fargo / Wachovia

Genevieve Aguilar Reardon, MA - Choate Hall + Stewart LLP

Gifty Mansaray, MA - Edwards Middle School

Giovanni Green, NY

Hall Cherville, NY - AB

Jared Cohen, MA - WilmerHale, LLP

Jean-Yves Ntamwemezi, MA - Microsoft

Jennifer Blood, NY

Jocasta Conyers-Johnson, TX - The Women's Fund for Health Education and Research

Jody Weber, MA - Bank of America

Justin Forman, NY - Google

Karen Nee, MA - Bank of America

Kesha Diamond, NY - Apthorp Pharmacy

Kiara Byrd, IL - Project Exploration

Kim Kiesow, NC - EMC

Kweku Ulzen, NC - Microsoft

La Rue Ragan, CA - Raven Works Field Sports Ministry

Lauren Kupersmith, MA - Goodwin Procter LLP

Leora Rodenstein, MA - WilmerHale, LLP

Lisa Berkshire, IL - Motorola Mobility Foundation

Mark Melfi, NC - Fidelity Investments

Martin Lopez Diaz, Jr., CA - LifeLong Medical Care

Megan Petrik, NC - Bank of America

Micaela Warton, MA - YWCA Boston

Michelle Hocking, CA - Google

Molly Berman, NY - Planned Parenthood

Nanelle Napp, NC - Bank of America

Olubukola Ashaolu, NY - National Employment Law Project

Onalie Sotak, MA - Google

Rachel Klooz, NY - Google

Richard Carey, MA - Thermo Fisher Scientific

Robert Mersereau Jr., MA - No 9 Park Restaurant

Robert Shames, MA - Choate Hall + Stewart LLP

Roland Labana, IL - Motorola Mobility Foundation

Roy Fralin, NC - Fidelity Investments

Ryan Futrell, NC - Fidelity Investments

Samantha Powers, MA - Microsoft

Sanjay Kadiwala, IL - Motorola Mobility Foundation

Scott McConnell, MA - Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Sowji Karumuri, NC - EMC

Susan Freeman, MA - Northeastern University

Tanisha Myers, NC - Wells Fargo / Wachovia

Tayeb Karim, MA - Google

Valerie Peicher, TX - Baylor College of Medicine

William Davis, NC - Credit Suisse

William Merritt, NC - Bank of America

Celebrate Ahmed Elsayed as the June Citizen Teacher of the Month!

Citizen Teachers Volunteer Citizen Teachers pair their personal passions with their expertise when teaching apprenticeships, helping to foster student excitement around new areas of study and future possibilities.

This spring, Ahmed Elsayed of Hikvision paired his enthusiasm for alternative energy with his engineering skills to teach an apprenticeship on alternative energy vehicles to students at Chase Elementary School in Chicago, IL. Students spent ten weeks learning about different ways to fuel and design a vehicle. At the final presentation, called a “WOW!”, students presented their designs for a car that used alternative energy. The apprenticeship was provided through a new partnership with Hikvision fostered through the leadership of Anna Boudinot, Content Manager.

“Hikvision is growing fast in the U.S. We’re in the process of creating the identity of the company here,” shared Anna. “One important element we wanted as part of our growth is to create an environment supporting employees who want to give back the community. As a tech company, we wanted to team up with a non-profit dedicated to STEM education. The U.S. is lagging behind in this field and can’t address the growing need for people with training in STEM within the U.S. I started doing some research and came across Citizen Schools. I reached out to Hikvision employees and presented Citizen Schools at a national sales meeting to find interest.”

Students with Ahmed and Frank

Ahmed approached Anna, who was looking for a way to share his passions. “I always wanted to volunteer in the community and it was exciting to hear Anna was moving Hikvision in that direction,” said Ahmed. “I’m a huge proponent of weaning ourselves off fossil fuels and getting into renewable energy. I do it at home and really wanted to pass it off in the classroom, as well as pass on my knowledge of electrical engineering.”

Join us in congratulating Ahmed Elsayed as our Citizen Teacher of the Month!

Why do you volunteer as a Citizen Teacher?

“I want to share my skills and give back. There have been people in my life that have gone out of their way for me. One person in particular is my father. He was a mechanical engineer and growing up we always did projects. I got in trouble for taking stuff apart and not always putting them back together. Our transmission was being reassembled in the kitchen one time and while putting it back we forgot the reverse. He was always a self-sustaining type of person and that helped launch my interest in engineering.

Has being a Citizen Teacher changed you?

“It’s made me want to get more involved. During the WOW! it was really cool to see how much the students had learned and to see them explain it to others.”

What is your favorite “aha” or “WOW!” moment from the semester?

“There was a group of girls really shy and reluctant to engage. One of the activities was building a structure that could hold the most weight. They didn’t really want to do it. We talked about what they could use as materials and I shared that anything that was on the desk could be used. That included chopsticks, tape, and rubber bands. The girls really thought outside the box because they ended up using the tape dispenser itself as a stand. That was their WOW moment. They ended up winning the design challenge. They realized that they could do it and after that moment they were much more involved and successful.

The two girls that were the most involved were very different from each other. One of them was the quietest girl in the class and she rocked it. The other was very high-energy. To see her take that energy and rechannel it into giving a very detailed explanation of how hydrogen cars work was pretty mind-blowing. It was awesome to see them explain it to Anna at the WOW!.”

Volunteer Card Ahmed

What is your favorite way to connect with students?

“My favorite is through hands-on design exercises. That’s the way I connect with my son. We’ll build birdhouses. When you hand them the tool, that builds the trust that builds the bond. Giving a student a little more responsibility and trusting them with it solidifies that trust, that bond.”

What advice do you have for new Citizen Teachers?

“Patience. That is a big one.

The kids come from all walks of life. Patience is the one I had to learn.  Find ways to keep an open mind, think outside of the box, and create ways to make the lessons fun.

The response was always the best when you could come up with an activity that involved them instead of standing up in front of the room and lecturing. Give very clear instructions and something that allows them to choose what they want.”

Anna had the chance to visit Ahmed’s WOW! and shared the following:

“What blew my mind was going to the WOW!, meeting the students in person, and having them explain the technology behind alternative energy vehicles. The students talked about the benefits and disadvantages and when these cars could hit the market. They were little encyclopedias. I asked them if they had known anything about alternative energy before starting the class and they said ‘nope.’ It was amazing what information they could soak up in the 10 week timespan.

I was thrilled to see the female students engaged in learning about STEM. I hope that the opportunity these girls received in the classroom taught them they are as equally capable as the males.”

PRESS RELEASE: Hikvision and Citizen Schools Provide STEM Education to Students in Need

Hikvision and Citizen Schools Provide STEM Education to Students in Need

City of Industry, CA – May 26, 2015 – HikvisionÒ USA, North America’s leading provider of innovative, award-winning video surveillance products and solutions, has teamed up with Citizen Schools, a national nonprofit organization that partners with middle schools to expand the learning day for children in low-income communities.

Hikvision volunteers provided hands-on classroom opportunities for middle school students at Chase Elementary in Chicago, where the students learned about engineering design and built alternative energy vehicles. The ten-week semester culminated in a “WOW! Event” this month where students taught back what they learned to teachers, parents, and community members. As a technology leader, Hikvision is dedicated to supporting opportunities for STEM-based education (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) across North America.

Citizen Schools, which is celebrating its twentieth anniversary this year, has a rich history of enabling public middle schools in low-income communities to provide a longer learning day with enrichment opportunities for students. Volunteers called “Citizen Teachers” visit the classroom in the extended day each week to engage the students in activities they would not otherwise be able to participate in during the school day. Students gain knowledge in topics ranging from journalism to astronomy, leading toward what Citizen Schools CEO Steven Rothstein refers to as a “moment of discovery.”

“Igniting a moment of discovery means that the students feel empowered,” Mr. Rothstein said. “They build something: the rocket flies, they’ve cooked something for the first time, their financial plan shows how they could potentially afford to go to college. These opportunities are crucial for students in many urban areas around the country. By the time they have reached 6th grade, they typically receive 6000 fewer hours of academic and personal enrichment opportunities than students in higher-income communities.”

Citizen Teachers from Hikvision taught an engineering design course at Chase Elementary where the students built structures and vehicles, tested their load-bearing capacity, and then transferred that knowledge into an understanding of how alternative energy vehicles operate and how they will affect our society in the future.

“Coming into the classroom every week and seeing how excited the students got about what they were learning was an incredible experience,” remarked Ahmed Elsayed, a sales engineer for Hikvision USA who volunteered at Chase. “Their desire for knowledge was palpable and I’m proud to be part of a program that fostered that.”

In addition to volunteer hours spent in the classroom, Hikvision also made a financial donation to provide classroom supplies.

“As a forward-thinking technology leader, Hikvision understands that the next generation of scientists and engineers are sitting in our middle school classrooms today,” stated Jeffrey He, president of Hikvision USA and Hikvision Canada. “Educating these students so they can realize their full potential will lead to a more robust workforce and a broader landscape for the STEM-based industries of the future. Hikvision is honored to play a part in facilitating this fundamental conveyance of knowledge.”

To learn more about Citizen Schools, visit www.citizenschools.org.

For more information about Hikvision, visit booth 822 at the Electronic Security Expo (ESX), June 24-28, at the Baltimore Convention Center, or go to www.hikvision.com/en/us.

About Hikvision

Hikvision is the world’s largest supplier of video surveillance products and solutions. The company specializes in innovative video surveillance technology, as well as designing and manufacturing a full line of innovative CCTV and video surveillance products. Hikvision possesses the industry’s largest R&D team and state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities; both allow Hikvision’s customers the benefit of world-class products that are designed with cutting-edge technology. Hikvision USA is a subsidiary of Hikvision Digital Technology Co., Ltd.

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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Media contact:

Alex Asnovich, Director of Marketing, Hikvision USA

312-576-1025, Alex.Asnovich@hikvision.com

Cognizant Employees Teaching Code

The Governor’s Task Force on Higher Education has stated that New Jersey will need to fill 269,000 STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) jobs by 2018. Cognizant Technology Solutions, a Citizen Schools partner, is helping alleviate this current STEM crisis through their employee volunteering program. This semester three Cognizant employees, Meeghan Salcedo, Siva Krishna Titti, and Shivani Mehta, will be leading Citizen Schools New Jersey’s coding apprenticeships at Chancellor Avenue Elementary School and Eagle Academy for Young Men with the hopes to inspire a next generation of STEM professionals in New Jersey. How do you think coding will benefit the students at Eagle Academy and Chancellor Avenue?

Meeghan: STEM studies are extremely important. This coding apprenticeship will not only teach the students how to code and what careers they can pursue in this field, but it will also broaden students’ horizons and expose them to a field not traditionally taught in [middle] school.

Shivani and student

Siva: Coding will definitely benefit the students. Technology is evolving every day, so it is good to have coding skills to contribute towards the next revolution in technology. Also, for me coding is fun; kids will enjoy the classes.

How is Cognizant's partnership with Citizen Schools helping build a strong workforce in the STEM industry?

Shivani: I believe that Cognizant's partnership with Citizen Schools is great for both. People from Cognizant, like myself, who want to contribute to their communities by sharing their knowledge, are now able to volunteer through the encouragement of our company, which is a valuable and fulfilling combination. Citizen Schools’ students are now being exposed to employees in the STEM industry which can help guide them with their skills as well as understanding what it means to work in the STEM industry. I hope that the students are being encouraged to achieve their dreams and goals by not only Cognizant volunteers, but all volunteers.

Meeghan: Cognizant’s partnership with Citizen Schools definitely helps lay the foundation for a strong STEM workforce. It is so vital to furthering technology that we encourage these studies at an early age. As a Cognizant associate, it is incredibly rewarding to help facilitate that.

Meeghan and her apprentice

Siva: Cognizant is one of the leading technology consulting organizations. With highly qualified and experienced workforce, we deliver innovative solutions to our customers across industries. When we teach at Citizen Schools we bring our experiences to the classes. This gives a realistic view of the industry to the kids, thus helping them understand the subject while relating to the real world.

During last semester’s Solar Cars apprenticeship, what changes did you see in your students in terms of skill development and/or confidence?

Shivani: In the beginning of the apprenticeship, we understood that the kids were bored with just listening to lectures and completing handouts, and they had a lot of energy throughout the hour and half classes. Because of this, we were able to engage them physically with games and smaller groups. This showed a great change in their confidence because each of us were then able to interact with the students one-on-one. By discussing with them their ideas and opinions, along with their questions and concerns, we were able to tackle challenges the students faced through discussions. Their confidence seemed to have increased towards the end of the apprenticeship. They were excited to learn as well as share with the class what they learned and even teach the rest of us by sharing their ideas. Their technical and innovation skills such as designing and prototyping the solar cars had improved with the aid of the "design process". This means there was a lot of iteration where the students designed, built, and adjusted based on the learning in class. We emphasized to them that failing is good because it

Siva and his apprentices

means they can learn from it and create or make something better over time and it definitely showed at the end of the semester. They also developed communication skills through the different activities and games we incorporated.

Over 130 Cognizant employees have volunteered in New Jersey since 2010. We thank all of the Cognizant Citizen Teachers for championing our students, our communities, and our program!

To learn more about Citizen Schools’ apprenticeships, please contact Ashley Drew, Civic Engagement and Operations Associate, at ashleydrew@citizenschools.org

Student Ideas Take Shape in 3D Printing Apprenticeship

When he was attending Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Chris Haid and his friends spent what little spare time they had tinkering and building what would become the world’s first fully automated 3D printer. Years later, he is bringing this technology into middle school classrooms in Boston through a 3D printing apprenticeship with the company he co-founded, NVBOTS. 13928389447_9e35dfedab_z

Chris is the Chief Operating Officer of NVBOTs, handling daily operations, customer service, and ensuring manufacturing meets demand. He has broken his routine once a week for four semesters to volunteer as a Citizen Teacher. His goal is to teach middle school students how to design and build with a 3D printer.

Chris is helping to extend NVBOTS' impact with the installation of an NVPro 3D printer at McCormack Middle School in Dorchester, Massachusetts. The printer is stimulating creativity and providing hands-on learning for many students. It is “one of many” that will be installed in Boston middle schools through the company’s partnership with Citizen Schools.

We recognize Chris as the March Citizen Teacher of the Month for his dedication to teaching students and increasing student access to the state-of-the-art 3D printers!

Meet Chris…

What apprenticeships have you taught?

I teach an Introduction to 3D Printing Apprenticeship. We teach the students how to go through the design process. We help them decide what they want to create and sketch out what they want to design and print. Once we get them through the design process, we teach them how to 3D print the parts. They get to take it home the following week.

This is my fourth time around. We’ve done two classes per semester a couple times around.

Do you have a favorite WOW! moment? Did anything surprise you about the students?

I get to see them go home and come back the next week only to tell me that they got so interested in this 3D printing design that they went home and looked up new part designs. They’re coming up with new ideas on their own. That’s one of the biggest things for me.

Chris Haid keeps souvenirs of his apprenticeships on his desk.

Some students don’t see the path to get to higher education. That’s how a lot of students start off in the beginning of the class. They say “before I was uncertain about 3D printing and how to design everything.” And now they want to go to college for 3D printing.

That’s really heartwarming. Just seeing the kids get excited about engineering. They’re not constrained in life and they have every ability to create things and bring their own ideas to life. Our apprenticeship shows them they can do that and it’s not that hard. There’s failing but at the end of the day it’s about taking something in your mind and making it into reality.

Why do you think students should engage in hands-on learning?

I think all students have an idea of something they want to create, but they’re often constrained. They don’t have all of the necessary tools at their disposal, but once they see that they have the ability to make something,knowing that they can create those designs gives them confidence.

A student of Chris Haid's shows off 3D printed objects as he explains how they are made.

What advice do you have for new Citizen Teachers?

Get to know your students. Teach something you’re passionate about. Try to build a personal connection with the students and get to know them while still maintaining your role as teacher. That really help to keep the  students engaged.

Why should people volunteer to teach students?

I believe it’s the most important thing to do. The students will be living in the future we’re building and it’s important to arm them with the tools and abilities they need to make a difference.

One day I brought in a prosthetic hand and said, “I designed it but it could be better. This is an application of the tools I’m teaching you right now. That’s why we’re doing this, so we can help each other and make the world a better place.”

Learn more about volunteering with Citizen Schools here!

"You can do it!" Meet Robert France, January's Citizen Teacher of the Month

Citizen Teacher Bob France works with students. “I’m interested in bringing the best possible hands-on experiences to as many students as possible.” 

Robert France has seen first-hand that students learn best by experiencing something new, while being supported by a mentors who believe in them. Robert began teaching in 2013 after learning about Citizen Schools through his role at SanDisk as VP of Customer Technical Support. He teamed up with a couple of colleagues to teach robotics at Joseph George Middle School in San Jose, CA. “Team teaching is great: it provides more viewpoints for the students, coverage when someone is out, and the ability to maximize hands-on time, as one person can run the lesson while the others can set-up the activities, said Robert.

We recognize Robert as the January Citizen Teacher of the Month for his dedication to teaching students and belief that every student has potential! “I believe that if [we] can excite students and show them that they can do something new, maybe that is the nudge that will change that student’s path for the better.”

Meet Robert...

What apprenticeships have you taught?

My first class as a Citizen Teacher was in 2013 teaching robotics. I just finished preparing and teaching a class on 3D printing with my team. Each student got to go through the whole process from creating an idea, to modeling in CAD on the computer, and ultimately printing in the classroom on a printer. The two most popular colors were silver and glow in the dark!

Do you have a favorite WOW! moment? Did anything surprise you about the students?

There are so many great mental “snapshots”, it’s hard to pick just one. But one that stands out was when we started printing the first student-designed object in the classroom. 3D printers make a very distinct sound and the motion is mesmerizing. Seeing the class’ reaction was really priceless. I think the reaction was partly because it is just such a cool thing to experience. But partly I believe, at least for some, that that was the point where they understood that they really did it, from concept to reality.

Why do you think it’s important to provide students with hands-on opportunities?

I am a huge believer in learning by doing. There is no better way to build confidence as you gain proficiency. You also find that there are usually a couple of failures along the way, and that is okay, too.

During the 3D printing WOW!, I was watching the printer working away and listening quietly to one of the students explaining the process. He was showing and describing the layers in the object, not just reading off of the presentation board. It was really great to hear his explanation. But I was especially excited about the idea that these WOW! moments would continue for our students beyond their presentations, and this idea is a driving force for me.

I knew that after the class was over, every time one of the students showed their 3D printed object to someone, I could just imagine the person saying something great to them like, “It is so cool that you did that!” Because that is what this is all about for me – to show these students that they can do it. Sure some things you have to work at, but they are not beyond reach. The ability to extend the WOW! moment for as long as possible, to have as many WOW!s as possible, continues to reinforce the message: you can do it!

What is one piece of advice you have for new Citizen Teachers?

Believe in the students. Do not underestimate them. Pick something you love and challenge yourself to challenge them. If you are teaching a complex topic, it will take some work to make it age and grade level appropriate. But it also gives you the richest opportunity to make the experience engaging and challenging for your entire range of students. You have many resources to help you with this, partner teachers, other Citizen Teachers, colleagues – ask for help!

Why should others volunteer to teach with Citizen Schools?

Education changes lives. Confidence changes lives.  Working with students is fun, rewarding, and occasionally a little tiring trying to keep up with all those brains. Citizen Schools and SanDisk have partnered together to make it easy to spend a little time, invest a little energy and in return have an awful lot of fun sharing something you love with some very energetic, really special students. The Teaching Fellows manage the classroom part (thank you!) so you can focus on your topic. And who knows, maybe one day, you’ll get a second thank you note, that you did in fact make a difference in someone’s life. I hope I do!

PRESS RELEASE: Jones Day Foundation Pledges Support to Citizen Schools to Expand STEM Programs Nationally

CITIZEN SCHOOLS CONTACT: Holly Trippett, (617) 695-2300 x1161, Cell: (301)-452-3904, hollytrippett@citizenschools.org FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

JONES DAY FOUNDATION PLEDGES SUPPORT TO CITIZEN SCHOOLS TO EXPAND STEM PROGRAMS NATIONALLY

Boston, MA– February 9, 2015—Citizen Schools, a leading national education nonprofit, today announced new support from the Jones Day Foundation to expand its science, technology, education and math (STEM) programs across the country. AmeriCorps educators and volunteer “Citizen Teachers” teach real-world learning projects and provide academic support in order to help all students discover and achieve their dreams.

Citizen Schools partners with underserved public middle schools to dramatically expand the learning day by 400 hours each academic year. During the additional school hours, the organization mobilizes AmeriCorps Teaching Fellows and corporate volunteers from firms like Jones Day who provide academic support and teach hands-on “apprenticeships” that help students make the connection between what they are learning now and a future career path. More than half of the skill-building apprenticeships are focused on STEM subjects and activities.

The Jones Day Foundation investment will allow Citizen Schools to provide middle school students with authentic learning experiences and access to STEM experts who can spark a lifelong interest in the subjects. The support will also help the organization build a rich library of curriculum for STEM apprenticeships that develop essential academic and 21st century skills, meet the needs of diverse learners, and maximize the talents of volunteers who also learn in the process.

“Real-world apprenticeship projects bring relevance and unique learning opportunities to students, igniting new interests and increasing engagement in the classroom,” said Steven M. Rothstein, CEO of Citizen Schools. “We are pleased to have the Jones Day Foundation as a partner as we work to advance and expand our STEM programs for the students and schools we serve to improve math proficiency and ensure a more diverse 21st century workforce.”

”The Jones Day Foundation is designed to make transformative gifts to address needs throughout the world,” said Lizanne Thomas, a partner in Jones Day’s Atlanta office and President of the Jones Day Foundation. “Supporting Citizen Schools, which shares our vision and mission of transformation, is a perfect fit for the Foundation.”

“Since opening in Boston in 2011, Jones Day has been active in the Boston charitable and civic community," said Traci Lovitt, Partner-in-Charge of Jones Day’s Boston office. “We are honored to partner with organizations like Citizen Schools. Spending time with the Edwards Middle School students in Boston through Citizen Schools has been a great experience, and we look forward to continuing to work with these wonderful children and Citizen Schools.”

For the past two spring semesters Jones Day employees have taught law apprenticeships to 6th grade students at Edwards Middle School in Boston, MA. Working side-by-side with Jones Day lawyers, students transform into trial and appellate court lawyers, arguing their cases at Moakley Court House at the end of each spring semester.

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. For more information, please visit http://www.citizenschools.org/.

About The Jones Day Foundation

The Jones Day Foundation, established in 1987, is a nonprofit organization funded by Jones Day's lawyers and staff. The Foundation's mission is to financially support efforts that include promoting the rule of law in developing countries, fostering innovation in academics, medicine and the arts, improving the living conditions and economic opportunities for people in impoverished settings (particularly children and women), and providing support and comfort to people suffering from natural and other disasters around the world.

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How I Helped Middle School Students Make a Difference in Their Community

This blog post was originally published on Cisco's Corporate Social Responsibility blog.

By Stephen Liem, IT Director, Global Quality and Support Services at Cisco

Stephen and his apprenticeship students at their end-of-semester WOW event, a Citizen Schools tradition where students teach back what they learned to teachers, parents, and community members.

There is no limit to what education can bring. It opens up many opportunities that otherwise may not be available.

In the past 10 weeks I‘ve had the privilege of teaching journalism to the middle school students in Joseph George School in East Jan Jose, California. Cisco has been partnering with Citizen Schools, a nonprofit organization, to deliver after school educational programs to low-income schools across the country.

Citizen Schools aims to prevent students from dropping out of high school through its Extended Learning Time (ELT) model, which provides after-school mentoring and support to low-performing middle schools. Volunteer professionals, or “Citizen Teachers,” teach 10-week after-school apprenticeships on topics they are passionate about, from blogging to filmmaking to robotics.

On average the schools Citizen Teachers visit do 300 hours less of after school programming compared to their counterparts. In East San Jose, where the graduation rate is at 79%, providing more meaningful educational programs has certainly helped not just the students themselves but also the community.

As a “Citizen Teacher” with the nonprofit Citizen Schools, Stephen Liem helped sixth graders create their own newspaper

In my journalism class, students in the sixth grade learned how to interview and collect data, how to write an article well, and how to express and publish their opinions honestly and truthfully. Collectively they decided on the name of the newspaper – the East San Jose News — and the subject of their stories.

The results were both eye opening and touching at the same time.

Erika and Tracy, for example, wrote that while they do not necessarily like to wear a school uniform, nevertheless it is important to wear one, because, “it protects you from gangs!” The story describes the reality they often must face outside of school, a reality that under normal circumstance they should not have to live with. It is a touching statement.

Christopher in the editorial section wrote about the importance of voicing your opinion to make a difference: “School could be cooler if you just speak up and ask for what you want. Sometimes your answer will be ‘no’ or ‘maybe,’ ‘just wait,’ or straight up “yes.’ But you will never find out unless you speak up and make your voice heard.” They may be in sixth grade, but the students absolutely understand that they can contribute to their community and they are ready to make that difference.

I enjoyed every minute I spent with my students. It was an educational process for me, but most important, I believe it was a tremendous educational experience for the students. In our country, where inequality in access to education and income disparity exist, I applaud Cisco and Citizen Schools’ effort to level the playing field for the sake of our future generation. I am glad that through Cisco, I have the opportunity to give back to my community.

Cisco employees are among Citizen Schools’ largest group of Citizen Teachers – 184 employees have taught 89 apprenticeships – and Cisco has provided more than $2 million in cash and product grants to the organization since 2009. Learn more about the partnership between Cisco and Citizen Schools.

Words from Citizen Schools’ CEO Steven Rothstein

This is the first in a series of blog posts featuring Citizen Schools' program in New Jersey. The first installment is a Q&A with Steven Rothstein, CEO of Citizen Schools, reflecting on his recent visits to Citizen Schools New Jersey and vision for the organization nationally.  You've traveled to New Jersey often these past couple of months. What opportunities do you see for Citizen Schools New Jersey?

Steven: I am excited about the opportunities in New Jersey and across the country for Citizen Schools. I am impressed with the team, enjoyed meeting students, and recognize the impact our team members and Citizen Teachers are having every day.

I'm particularly proud of how Citizen Schools is getting students ready for high school and job opportunities through the 21st Century skills being taught in our apprenticeships. In addition to being introduced to a wide array of career options ranging from financial management, software, technology to cooking; students are also learning about working with others, leadership skills, and public speaking. This combination is helping to prepare Newark students for the future workforce.

As we look forward, we hope to reach more middle school students in Newark and in other cities.

Steven and Keely

What has been your favorite moment thus far as the new CEO of Citizen Schools, and what are you looking forward to?

Steven: My favorite moments are visiting our schools and seeing the students we serve. I have been to half of the schools in our network and really love the energy, enthusiasm and leadership from our AmeriCorps Teaching Fellows, campus leadership, and other team members. I had a great time visiting Chancellor Avenue School [in Newark] recently, and visiting three special apprenticeships there including “Beautiful Girls”, “I Scream, You Scream,” and “Secrets of a Millionaire.”

What are your future plans for Citizen Schools? 

Steven: Citizen Schools is on the move. I am excited about strengthening our existing partnerships, establishing new ones, serving more students, and looking for ways to expand our STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) focus through our apprenticeships and US2020. We also want to broaden the representation on our state boards.

As we look forward to 2015, we are preparing to celebrate our 20th anniversary. This is a great opportunity to reflect on our work, celebrate the extraordinary citizens who have served over the past twenty years, and prepare for the next 20 years.

Our focus will remain on the quality of our program, expanding our services, and playing a key role in policy initiatives at the local, state, and national levels.

For more information on Citizen Schools New Jersey and how to get involved, contact Kit Nugent, Director of External Engagement, at kitnugent@citizenschools.org.

NASA Volunteer Demystifies the World for Houston Students

6196461465_0204ebf89d_oDr. Baraquiel Reyna likes to make the world a little less mysterious. The Houston-based Citizen Teacher teaches “Wired Up,” an apprenticeship course about electricity and electronics. Every semester he demonstrates how simple adjustments to a helicopter motor can make a flashlight illuminate or a flying saucer fly. He always hears a resounding “Wow, that’s so cool!” from the students when he demonstrates this for the first time. And just like that the world is a little less mysterious. Dr. Reyna, Deputy Manager of Exploration Medical Capability at NASA, was recently recognized as the 2014 HENAAC (Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Conference) Most Promising Engineer at the Great Minds in STEM Conference, in part for his efforts to teach Houston middle schoolers about STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) through Citizen Schools. For Dr. Reyna, volunteering with the organization centers on showing the class the possibilities that exist within electricity and their futures.

“Growing up in Houston, I had the benefit of all of my peers being the sons and daughters of ExxonMobil engineers. From a role model perspective, I had access to plenty of individuals who showed me what was possible and available,” said Dr. Reyna. “Students who are lower on the socio-economic scale and don’t have access to those role models don’t know they can grow up to work at NASA. I want to be a real-world role model and show students that someone who looks and talks like them can work at NASA.”

At the same time, Dr. Reyna recognizes that this role is not easy. Though teaching a class of middle schoolers can present challenges, he has worked to engage his audience by incorporating different kinds of learning activities including lessons that appeal to auditory, kinesthetic, and visual learners. “Taking an abstract thought and showing it physically only reinforces the lesson. The more senses you can use the better you will retain information.”

And it’s not only about the students retaining the information now but also having the tools to follow up on their interests after the apprenticeship is over. “I’ve had to evolve my content to make sure that I was appealing to students’ interests while making sure that students understand how to grow their interests and what they need to do to take that interest to the next step.”

We congratulate Dr. Reyna on his HENAACC award and thank him for taking some of the mysteries out of life for Houston middle schoolers by showing them what’s possible.

Bay Area Googler Fuels Student Success By Recruiting Others to Teach

Jeff Breau helps recruit California Googlers like the one pictured here to volunteer to teach Bay Area middle school students

Jeff Breau, a Googler in San Francisco, has been a personal supporter of Citizen Schools since 2011. Over the years as a volunteer Citizen Teacher he taught three apprenticeships to middle school students in the Bay Area including Rockin’ Robots, Train Your Brain, and Reading the News. Jeff was recently promoted and found himself with a busy travel schedule, making it hard to commit to a semester of teaching. Asking himself “How much am I able to do?” he switched gears and began inspiring colleagues to invest their time volunteering with Citizen Schools. His encouragement worked. Since last spring, Jeff has helped our California team recruit 32 volunteers!

Citizen Schools: Who or what inspired you when you were young?

Jeff Breau: An experiment my dad did with my grade school class comes to mind. He was a professor of microbiology and brought experiments into my class from time to time.  I specifically remember getting excited about one where he brought petri dishes into the class.  We all rubbed our toes in our dish and waited for the cultures to grow, and then looked at the different patterns they all made. That really awakened me to science and biology, the hidden micro world!

CS: Why do you think it’s important to provide students with real-world, hands-on opportunities?

JB: Kids aren’t always aware of what adults are doing, and what they could be doing when they get older. Citizen Schools is a way to expose them to more opportunities, creating a better chance for them to find what fuels them to succeed.

CS: What is one of your “aha” or “WOW!” moments from teaching?

JB: I taught an apprenticeship called “Reading the News.” I wanted to hook kids with topics that interested them, like music and sports, and transition them to bigger news stories on international and political levels. My “aha” moment happened when the students organically began debating Dennis Rodman’s trip to North Korea. They had a conversation about whether Rodman should have visited, if his visit was beneficial or not, and if his trip went against the wishes of the President. Making the leap from a basketball star to the political climate of North Korea with seventh and eighth graders made it apparent that these students were connecting to news stories at a deeper level.

CS: What was it that inspired your work as an organizer to engage more Google Citizen Teachers?

JB:  My new role requires me to travel a good deal and becoming an organizer seemed to be a natural segue. My experience managing teams and organizing events paired with support from Google and Faith [Lin], the Senior Manager of Civic Engagement in CA, made it possible for me to expand my impact. If I recruited 10 Citizen Teachers who impacted 25 students each, I am still doing something good.

CS: How does Google support your involvement with Citizen Schools?

JB: As a Citizen Teacher I had a ton of support all the way up through senior the VP and Executive levels of the company from Christina [Christina Wire, Director Google Helpouts] and Claire [Claire Hughes Johnson, Vice President Google X] who share my excitement for Citizen Schools’ mission. It wasn’t just the luck of also having a great manager, although I did have that, but they recognize that 1-2 hours of outwork time was beneficial and it had only been encouraged. They were all truly supportive of me giving time to the community. Additionally, Google has a tool to log volunteer hours and they give money to your organization based on the hours you work. [Google also supports Citizen Schools as a National Leadership Partner, providing $3.25 million since 2011.]

CS: How did your time as a Citizen Teacher affect your professional development or growth at Google?

JB: Obvious and tangible benefits were that I was able to work on leadership skills and work with different people across Google. Increasing the number of people I knew and worked closely with was great. I found that teaching made my normal job easier to come back to, after teaching I felt rejuvenated and recharged returning to my desk.

Each week I was exposed to so many different viewpoints from kids and I spent time trying to get each of them excited.  Making a subject interesting is a great skill to have, one that was shaped by the work I did with Citizen Schools. Bringing it back to Google, I was just applying it to a different audience.

 

Citizen Schools to be Featured on American Graduate Day 2014!

Live from Tisch WNET Studios at Lincoln Center in NYC, airing September 27 at 3PM EST

Day-long Multiplatform Event Celebrates the “Stories of Champions” -- Individuals and Organizations Committed to Improving Outcomes for Youth and Raising Graduation Rates   

National Broadcast to Showcase Citizen School’ Efforts to Address the Needs of At-Risk Kids

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3q9eCXn0G24&feature=youtu.be

This video will appear during Citizen Schools’ segment on American Graduate Day.

American Graduate Day 2014 returns this fall for its third consecutive year. Wes Moore, best-selling author and U.S. Army veteran, will host the all-day broadcast on September 27 which will feature Citizen Schools at 3pm on public television stations nationwide. The annual multiplatform event is part of the public media initiative, American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen, helping communities bolster graduation rates through the power and reach of local public media stations. Featuring seven hours of national and local programming, live interviews and performances, American Graduate Day 2014 will celebrate the exceptional work of individuals and organizations across the country who are American Graduate Champions: those helping local youth stay on track to college and career successes.

“Every child deserves a quality education and an opportunity for success,” said Pat Harrison, president and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). “The high school graduation numbers are moving in the right direction because people have stepped up as champions for students on behalf of their communities, committed to improving outcomes for all of our nation’s youth. On American Graduate Day, local public media stations will be celebrating the inspirational stories that are contributing to the progress.”

“We are proud to be included in American Graduate Day as an organization that is lifting opportunities for middle school youth in low-income communities," said Steven Rothstein, CEO of Citizen Schools. “Individuals and organizations have a vital role to play in ensuring that students are prepared and supported on the path to graduation and future success."

During Citizen Schools’ segment, NBC News education correspondent, Rehema Ellis, will interview a Citizen Schools 8th grade student, volunteer, and program leader about the STEM (science, engineering, technology, and math) education focus of Citizen Schools’ program at partner school Eagle Academy for Young Men of Newark. Eighth grader, Jacor will demonstrate the fun and hands-on way he learned about math and science through building a model solar and racing it at competition. The volunteer who teaches Solar Cars, Piyush Modak from Endomedix, will share the joy and professional growth she has experienced through teaching and learning from the students each week, and seeing the impact that her passion for STEM can have on kids. They will be joined by Citizen Schools Deputy Campus Director, Chanelle Baylor, to discuss the partnership between Citizen Schools and Eagle Academy that furthers student learning, while supporting teachers, and providing hands-on project-based learning. Projects like what Jacor did with solar cars allows students to transform into young scientists, engineers, astronauts, business owners, and programmers, helping them see the connections between their academics, real-world careers, and how they can achieve their dreams for their future.

This year’s American Graduate Day topics will include Early Education, Caring Consistent Adults, More and Better Learning, Special Needs Communities, STEAM (A for arts) Programs, Dropout Prevention and Re-Engagement and College and Career Readiness. Citizen Schools will be featured during the STEAM segment of the broadcast. The program will also devote time to areas not covered before, including the special needs community and the work of such organizations as Autism Speaks, Best Buddies, and Special Olympics, and the importance of the arts in STEAM as a key component to More and Better Learning that can compel kids to stay in school, reflected in programs like Exploring the Arts and VH1 Save The Music Foundation, and more. In addition to “Stories of Champions,” other new features include live performances by The Raise Up Project, a spoken word group also being honored the following day at The Kennedy Center, and the Trenton Public Schools Marching Band.

Viewers and online users who are interested in connecting with local organizations and youth as American Graduate Champions can send a text on the day of broadcast or log on to AmericanGraduate.org to find out more about the national and regional organizations and how to help in their communities. Viewers will also be invited to participate in the discussion via Twitter and Facebook using the #AmGrad hashtag and on.

CONFIRMED MODERATORS:

Wes Moore (PBS and OWN), Juju Chang (ABC), Rehema Ellis (NBC), Bianna Golodryga (Yahoo!), Lyn May (PBS), Stone Phillips (news anchor), Hari Sreenivasan (PBS NewsHour Weekend), Rebecca Jarvis (ABC News), Susie Gharib (Nightly Business Report), William Brangham (PBS NewsHour Weekend) and Lauren Wanko (NJTV).

NATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

Among the national organizations featured are: 4-H, 100K in 10, America SCORES Cleveland, America’s Promise Alliance, AmeriCorps, Autism Speaks, Banister Leadership Academy, Best Buddies, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Citizen Schools, City Year, Communities In Schools, Exploring the Arts, FIRST, Gateway to College National Network, GEAR UP, GRAD Cincinnati, Horizons National, Jobs for America’s Graduates, Junior Achievement, My Brother’s Keeper, National Academy Foundation, Omaha Empowerment Network, Project SEARCH, Publicolor, The Raise Up Project, Reach Out and Read, Reading is Fundamental, Roadtrip Nation, Special Olympics, Samsung Electronics North America, Taco Bell Foundation for Teens™, United Way and VH1 Save The Music Foundation.

CELEBRITY INTERVIEWS

Tony Bennett and wife Susan Benedetto will be interviewed about Exploring the Arts; Gen. Colin Powell and Alma Powell will be interviewed about their organization, America’s Promise Alliance; Brian Williams (NBC) and Jane Williams, daughter actress Allison Williams (HBO’s Girls) and son Doug Williams (YES Network) will be interviewed about their organization, Horizons National; Michael Bloomberg (former Mayor of New York City) will appear on behalf of Publicolor; Reggie Bush (Detroit Lions) will appear on behalf of Taco Bell Foundation; Ingrid Michaelson (singer/songwriter) will give a testimonial about VH1 Save The Music Foundation; CC Sabathia (New York Yankees) and Jackie Joyner-Kersee (Olympic gold medalist) will appear on behalf of Boys and Girls Clubs of America; Miral Kotb (dancer/choreographer) will be interviewed about Girls Who Code; Andy Grammer (singer) will host the VH1 Save The Music Foundation segment.

American Graduate Day 2014 is a production of THIRTEEN Productions LLC in association with WNET. Michael Kostel is executive producer.  Colin Powers is broadcast producer.  Chris Brande is national segment producer. Helen Maier is co-producer. Anna Campbell is local segment producer. From the Education Department, Kimberly Mullaney is project manager and Carole Wacey is vice president, education. Neal Shapiro is executive-in-charge.

American Graduate Day is part of American Graduate: Let's Make It Happen - a public media initiative made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to help more kids stay on the path to graduation.

Visit the American Graduate Web site for more details on participating PBS stations as well as other television and radio programs: http://americangraduate.org/american-graduate-day-2014

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. For more information, please visit http://www.citizenschools.org/.

About American Graduate

American Graduate: Let's Make it Happen was launched in 2011 with 25 public media stations in high need communities to spotlight the high school dropout crisis and focus on middle and high school student interventions. Today, more than 80 public radio and television stations in over 30 states have partnered with over 1000 community organizations and schools, as well as Alma and Colin Powell's America's Promise Alliance, Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University School of Education, Alliance for Excellent Education, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Newman’s Own Foundation to help the nation achieve a 90% graduation by 2020. With primetime and children’s programming that educates, informs, and inspires public radio and television stations — locally owned and operated — are important resources in helping to address critical issues facing today’s communities. According to a report from the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University School of Education, American Graduate stations have told the story about the dropout crisis in a way that empowered citizens to get involved, and helped community organizations break down silos to work more effectively together. In early 2014, CPB and PBS KIDS committed an additional $20 million for the “American Graduate PBS KIDS Fund” to also help communities connect the importance of early learning as part of a student’s long term success. In addition to station grants for local engagement, the Fund will support the creation of children’s content and tools to help parents, particularly those from low income communities, better prepare their young children for long term success. Fourteen American Graduate station grantees have also been awarded CPB early education grants to reach children ages 2-8 with programming and services developed through the Ready to Learn Initiative, a project funded by the U.S. Department of Education.

About CPB

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government's investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,300 locally-owned and -operated public television and radio stations nationwide, and is the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television and related online services.

“Example isn't another way to teach, it is the only way to teach”

From “Amazing Mazes” to “Life on Mars,” Citizen Teacher Haggai Mark has developed and taught a variety of computer science apprenticeships for over four years. His experience with Citizen Schools impacted his decision to transition from 30 years as an engineer to a full time Computer Science Curriculum Developer and teacher in California! Name: Haggai Mark

Title:  High School Computer Science Curriculum Developer and Teacher

What was the most recent apprenticeship you taught? A STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and programming apprenticeship I developed, called “Meet Me on Mars”. Students learned how to write a game/program using Scratch (developed at MIT) to simulate a simplified solar system, and a launch of a rocket from Earth to Mars.

How did you hear about Citizen Schools? Through work (I worked at Cisco Systems in San Jose, CA. Cisco is a National Leadership Partner of Citizen Schools).

Why do you think it's important to provide students with real-world, hands-on opportunities?

We as human beings learn a lot by doing, regardless of age. Exposing students to new areas of knowledge and new experiences is like opening windows for them, and letting the light shine in. Giving them hands-on opportunities and examples for doing things with this knowledge is like giving them the wings to fly through these windows.

As Albert Einstein said: “Example isn't another way to teach, it is the only way to teach." I think that Citizen Schools enables and supports this kind of mindset.

What surprised you most about the students and teaching experience?

An important insight I got after teaching different courses and multiple classes is that you never know exactly which “seeds” are going to fall on fertile ground and grow. In other words, in the complex interaction between your personality as a teacher, the material you are trying to teach, the ways you are teaching it, the students you are interacting with, the knowledge and interests they have, and their personality, it’s very hard to predict which “nuggets” of knowledge and skills are really going to take hold, and make an impact on them. And that’s why it’s important to try different ways and different things, and most importantly – persevere. Sometimes you think you are not reaching them and then they totally blow you away with their actions and insights!

What was the greatest "aha" or "WOW" moment during your time with Citizen Schools?

A couple of years ago I was teaching a STEM course called “Amazing Mazes”, which I had developed. The Amazing Mazes course teaches students to use computers to build mazes in a 2D plane (on the computer screen), create "maze walkers" (think, "mice"), and then teach them, using programming, to successfully navigate through these mazes (or "find the cheese", so to speak).

As the students build their maze, they can see both a “graphic representation” of the paths of the maze, and a “programmatic representation” of the maze, which is the collection of commands they are using. These are two very different representations and abstraction levels. And one question is: which of these forms is “really” the maze? It is hard to fully grasp these concepts in middle school.

As it turns out, one 7th grade girl in class got it! She took the list of commands (which is one form of abstraction) she used for building her maze, added new numbers to all her x-y coordinates within those commands, and re-ran her program to generate a new/shifted maze (a different form of abstraction)!

I’m not sure who was more pleased with the resulting new shape on the screen, I, because I was able to teach, or she, because she was able to learn! I guess we were both blown away.

What skills did you gain or develop by teaching the students?

I definitely learned how to plan for different levels and paces of student learning, in order to create differentiated learning. I also learned how to more effectively use educational tools and technologies to enhance interest and learning.

You’ve made a big transition in your career - from the corporate space into the public school system.  How did your work with Citizen Schools impact that transition?

Due to my unique experience in education, I was able to work with Citizen Schools to have enough flexibility to create STEM apprenticeships and teach them, with freedom to choose topics, educational technologies, and teaching techniques.It really allowed me to explore and validate my interests and capabilities, before making a career change. Education and teaching have been on my mind for many years, but as they say "life  happens when you make other plans" and I ended up doing Engineering for 30 years. When I had the opportunity to make a career change it was very natural for me to choose education.

What are you most excited about in your new role?

I love the fact that I will be doing both curriculum development, starting with designing three new Computer Science courses, and teaching them! I am excited about the opportunity to design curricula from scratch and validate their effectiveness through doing hands-on evaluation.

What advice would you give future volunteers?

Picking an area you are both knowledgeable and passionate about is key! Your interest and sense of excitement is “contagious” – it shows immediately, and usually “rubs off” onto the students. It is important to plan for your lessons, but you also need to be flexible, and be willing to seize learning moments, if and when they come, and they will come. The more connections you are able to make with and for the students between what you are teaching and what interests them (and what comes up spontaneously during the lessons), the better.

Learn more about volunteering with Citizen Schools here!

Welcome Back to School!

5815617808_a53421e9c6_oWe're going back to school! AmeriCorps members, aspiring teachers, and Citizen Teachers are venturing into another year of expanded learning to provide more enriching experiences to students across the country with the support of our great partners.

Our collaboration is ready to impact the lives of 5,098 students at 29 public middle schools in seven states. We are launching many new school partnerships this year including Quail Hollow Middle School in Charlotte, North Carolina, Chancellor Avenue Elementary School in Newark, New Jersey, and William Monroe Trotter Innovation School in Dorchester, Massachusetts. Our California region expanded to Greenleaf Elementary School in Oakland and William Sheppard Middle School in San Jose. We also opened two new school partnerships, in Chicago, Illinois, Carter School of Excellence and Chase Elementary School. Welcome to the Citizen Schools community!

Thanks to a generous increase in support from AmeriCorps, 261 Teaching Fellows are serving in the longer school day, the highest number of Teaching Fellows since the organization was founded in 1995. After weeks of training, the Teaching Fellows are beginning to meet with new and returning students and are eager to start the year with success.

“Coming back as a second year Teaching Fellow, I feel like I am more prepared for the classroom and to best support students. I’m really excited because I know what’s ahead of me this year. I know how many exciting milestones there are for my students and also myself.” said Eric Saindon, a Teaching Fellow serving his second year in Massachusetts.

11242144483_ff6c89a366_o (1)Citizen Teachers are gearing up to head back to school too. They are completing their training and are getting ready to open young minds to fascinating projects and career pathways. Volunteers will teach apprenticeship courses in 14 diverse categories including marketing, cooking, robotics, gardening, sports management, engineering, and many more.

NASA Citizen Teacher Dr. Baraquiel Reyna shared heartwarming insight into the power of volunteering in Houston. “A 6th Grade female student walked up to me after answering some review questions and with bewilderment in her eyes she said, ‘Dr. Reyna, I didn't know that I could be good at science!’ I was on Cloud 9 for the next two weeks (and still to this day) thinking about that afternoon.”

Every day, our school partners, AmeriCorps Teaching Fellows, aspiring educators, and community volunteers make a difference to middle school students across the nation. The expanded learning day is utilized to help students discover their dreams and achieve more than they ever thought could happen. Lives can change when strong partnerships engage each day with passionate dedication and we couldn't do it without your support. We hope you have a great year and welcome back to school!

The Essential Starting Point Is Empathy

This post is by Eric Schwarz, Co-Founder and CEO of Citizen Schools. Two moving articles I've read in the last week have reminded me of a primary reason I started Citizen Schools -- one that has nothing to do with the education of children, or at least not directly.

Is A Hard Life Inherited? by Nicholas Kristof in The New York Times told the story of the growing isolation and impoverishment of the working class neighbors he grew up with in rural Yamhill, Oregon. A few bad choices combined with slim opportunities led boyhood friends of Kristof's to feel increasingly isolated from either the idea of or the reality of an opportunity society. Smart creative children are now too often jobless, in prison, or on drugs. Kristof describes the crisis facing working class men in Yamhill and in rural towns and inner cities all across America and then ends by wishing more of his privileged colleagues in journalism and business had more first-hand exposure to life near the poverty line. "There are steps that could help," Kristof writes, "including a higher minimum wage, early childhood programs, and a focus on education as an escalator to opportunity. But the essential starting point is empathy."

On Sunday The Boston Globe wrote a powerful story, The Working Poor Who Fight To Live on $10 an Hour, that profiled a number of Bostonians living on the financial edge. I was particularly moved by the story of Larry McCain, a man my age who described working since the age of 8, starting with sweeping up hair at a barber shop and searching for stray golf balls at Dorchester's Franklin Park Golf Course, about a mile from where colleagues and I started Citizen Schools a few decades later. Until he was fired recently, McCain worked at Logan airport, cleaning used food trays and inspecting new ones. He was earning $9 an hour, meaning that he relied heavily on the local food bank to eat and can only afford the rent in his 130-square foot rooming house apartment because of a discount he gets for cleaning the common bathroom shared by several tenants.

opp eqOver the years I have been in a few dozen apartments like McCain's, first when I accompanied my Mom on visits to see her students as a teacher in East Harlem, then as a journalist in Oakland and Quincy, MA, and most notably meeting with students from Citizen Schools when we were getting the program started.  Recruiting into Citizen Schools the children of Moms and Dads who worked hard but still lived below or barely above the poverty line was a big part of my job. As I write about in my book, The Opportunity Equation, these conversations were deeply moving for me. I was just starting a family myself, and while in some ways my life was very different from that of the parents we worked with, in so many other ways we saw things eye to eye.

A primary goal of Citizen Schools has always been to give young people extra learning time, extra mentoring, and extra chances to successfully engage in hands-on, real-world projects. But that is not the only goal. Another primary goal is to build understanding and empathy among those who hold power today. When our Citizen Teachers -- many of them financial advisers and engineers and white shoe lawyers -- make their way into urban schools on the other side of the tracks from where they live and work, they build empathy. The kids get access to a new world. And so do the adults. Statistics become faces. Hopeless narratives you see on TV become hopeful narratives you see in front of you. Inner-city kids become creative problem solvers and eloquent defenders of their ideas.

My hope has always been that eventually the adults involved with Citizen Schools will realize the urgency of lifting opportunity for all, as many of them already do. "Those" kids become "our" kids, or "my" kids. Eventually, as with Lindy Smalt, an AmeriCorps Teaching Fellow profiled in my book, the mentors in Citizen Schools have their justice nerves awakened. For Lindy, the epiphany came from her work with Abdellah, a student in her class. "He is small and gets swallowed in large classes of screaming, sassy preteens," she wrote. "But he is diligent, positive, and extremely kind, and he deserves a chance.  And there are millions more like him."

I hope you will join me at an upcoming book event (see list here) and pre-order the book for yourself and for a favorite teacher or mentor in your life.

Congratulations to the 2014 Presidential Volunteer Service Award Winners!

The President of Citizen Schools, Emily McCann, uses the phrase "it takes a village" to demonstrate the amount of talent and dedication needed to create the impact that Citizen Schools has on students. Among the ‘village’ of talent and dedication are our volunteer Citizen Teachers. During the 2013-2014 school year there were over 2,500 Citizen Teachers leading about 1,000 apprenticeships, impacting over 4,900 middle school students across 7 states!   From September to May these volunteers give their time to middle school students, mentoring them on topics such as video game design, mock trial, stock market investments and more. After one semester in the classroom, hundreds of volunteers go on to teach again, for several semesters and even years in a row.

While we celebrate the end of the school year and thank our Citizen Teachers, there is one more individual that extends his gratitude for their service, the President of the United States. Each year, the President recognizes those who volunteer for a cause across the country with the President's Volunteer Service Award program.

This year, 375 Citizen Teachers were recognized by the President at the gold, silver and bronze levels. Each of the levels corresponds to an incredible amount of time inspiring students:

43 Gold award winners for teaching four out of the last four semesters

71 Silver award winners for teaching three out of the last four semesters

261 Bronze award winners for teaching two out of the last four semesters

Throughout the summer, volunteers received their awards at appreciation events across the country. Many companies and organizations have also recognized the great efforts of their employees at the appreciation events and internally.

Join us in celebrating these mentors for helping students to dream big and reach their full potential. In particular, we would like to thank the 43 gold level awardees who have made the commitment for four consecutive semesters to consistently impact students in their community. Congratulations on your accomplishments and impact on student’s lives! We thank you all for your service.

Massachusetts:

Emily Hodge, Choate Hall + Stewart LLP

Jacqueline Mantica, Choate Hall + Stewart LLP

Eric Teasdale, Choate Hall + Stewart LLP

Scott McConnell, Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Timothy Bazzle, Goodwin Procter, LLP

Onalie Sotak, Google

Bill Good, Massachusetts Youth Rugby Organization

Jesse Nocon, Massachusetts Youth Rugby Organization

Brian Conley, Microsoft

Kyle Crawford, Mintz Levin Cohon Ferris Glovsky + Popeo PC

Anne Bowie, WilmerHale, LLP

Robert Mersereau Jr.

Robert P. Mersereau Sr.

New York

Donna Fontana, Fidelity Investments

Richard Mooney, CAW Afterschool Artworks

Ruth Gitlin, Angelo, Gordon and Co.

New Jersey

Damani Roach, Prudential Investments

Douglas Reagan, Cisco

Douglas Lebrecque, Rutgers SPAA

James Hainis, H.E.A.R.T. Martial Arts

Shivani Mehta, Cognizant

North Carolina

Arthur (Charlie) Everett, EMC

Carol Lenox, Environmental Protection Agency

Edward Lau, Microsoft

Elvira Johnson, CPCC STARS Alliance

Hong Zou, EMC

Jerry Diehl, EMC

Joe Darko, Microsoft

Kathy Cummings, Bank of America

Kim Kiesow, EMC

Megan Petrik, Bank of America

Nanelle Napp, Bank of America

Philip Armstrong, Bank of America

Rebecca Dodder, Environmental Protection Agency

Sasha Bouldin, NC Albert Schweitzer Fellows Program

Sonya “Rudy” Johnson, CPCC STARS Alliance

Taylor Clawson, NC Albert Schweitzer Fellows Program

Illinois

Cindy Gabriel, Deloitte

Texas

Glenn Lowenstein, Terrain Solutions, Inc.

Mark Jernigan, NASA

California

Kimone Gooden, Cisco

Kelley Coyne, Women’s Audio Mission

Susan Dickey, Google

Students Take Part in Building Their City

The We Build This City apprenticeship team Have you ever been told “You have the power to change something. Where will you start?” Students can spend years living in the same city and community without knowing how they can play a part in improving their surroundings. A young person may recognize a problem in their neighborhood, but solutions may seem out of reach. Enter Deborah Schulze, a public school teacher with city planning training.

Deborah is a Citizen Teacher at Louise A. Spencer Elementary School in Newark, NJ, though she is a teacher at another school. Once a week last fall, Deborah came to the school to teach the apprenticeship "We Build This City," supported by AmeriCorps Teaching Fellow, Kayla Crooms. In the apprenticeship, students focused on transforming neighborhoods through about city planning and the power of community in Newark.

In their initial planning process, students suggested they develop a vacant lot near the school into a park. The vacant lot attracted crime to the area, despite the school being so close. The group thought that a park would add more value and create a relaxing space for residents.

The team poses by the vacant lot they plan to renovate.

With Deborah's city planning experience, the students learned how to compile a proposal, draft a letter to the mayor, and strategize techniques for achieving their goal. The project gave students a new purpose. They weren’t working for a grade, but for their community.

“After learning the history of Newark and exploring what it takes to build a healthy community, they developed a ‘can do’ attitude and started to ask themselves ‘What can I do to help?’,” said Kayla.

In the spring, the students were given the opportunity to pitch their idea at City Hall. After proudly presenting the proposal, the Deputy Mayor of Economic Development, Dan Jennings, invited the students to join the planning board for the redevelopment of the lot.

Kayla recalled that exciting afternoon with the planning board:

“The girls were invited back to give their input to the city planning board. Along with Deputy Mayor Muniz and Director Jennings, the girls sat down with Ms. Gin Dawson of the Michael's Development Company to go over the vision for the upcoming project.

 

Ms. Dawson provided students with the building plans for the new senior housing development currently being build in the farthest lot, the plans for the large community park as well as a small green area in the courtyard of the senior building. She explained as part of the plan, there will be a community center located on the first floor where families from the community would have partial access.

 

During the discussion, Deputy Mayor Muniz suggested using the community center as a way for the students at Louise A. Spencer to give back and take ownership of their community. The girls came up with the idea of creating a club at school that would partner with the building manager to maintain and beautify the grounds, organize fundraisers, and hold events for the senior citizens.

 

In addition to the students' long-term involvement, the girls were invited to speak about their project and cut the ribbon next spring at the ribbon cutting ceremony. On campus, we are looking forward to bringing our ideas to Principal Pellegrine to organize a club with the mission to keep Newark beautiful!”

Given the tools and support, students can be empowered to have a role in improving their community and taking charge of its future.

“They discovered their voice and their ability to advocate,” said Deborah. “It’s a new beginning.”

The Opportunity Equation: How Citizen Teachers Are Combating the Achievement Gap in America's Schools

This post is by Eric Schwarz, Co-Founder and CEO of Citizen Schools. In jopp equst over a month my book -- our book -- hits the bookstores and I'm going to be hitting the road.  The Opportunity Equation is part personal story, large part Citizen Schools story, and most of all a call to action to citizens across the country to get active in addressing our nation's growing opportunity and achievement gaps.

The book is already getting pre-publication reviews and they are encouraging. Kirkus Reviews calls the book "a call to action for citizens and educators so that the achievement gap can be closed as rapidly as possible."  And Publisher's Weekly said, "Combining data-rich statistics with frequently funny and animated accounts of his work with Citizen Schools, including a bracing candor about mistakes and learning on the fly, Schwarz offers...a constructive blueprint for boosting achievement without abandoning public education."

It is my hope that this book will provoke new thinking about education, build understanding, influence policy, and mobilize citizens to do their part in lifting up opportunity for all children. Stories like that of Alan Su, a whiz kid engineer at Google who taught a computer programming apprenticeship five times at the Clarence Edwards Middle School, and of Margie Tkacik, who allowed me to be the first Citizen Teacher in our program when I taught a journalism apprenticeship in her classroom, will help readers see themselves as key participants in the change that needs to happen.

I want to use the book and a planned 20-city book tour in September to advance the ideals of Citizen Schools and advance understanding of the opportunity gap that exists—and is growing—for low-income youth. The conversation needs to shift from blaming convenient scapegoats like teachers unions and poverty to lifting up solutions and finding practical ways to empower everyday citizens to improve our schools. This message can only truly take root if we mobilize thousands of citizens like you to promote the ideas of the book and the values that Citizen Schools represents. We’ll be in touch before the September 2nd launch date with more ways you can be a part of this movement, but for now want to share a few ways to help us build momentum:

  1. The book is now available for pre-order, so if you’d like to be one of the first to read it, click here to learn about ordering options.
  2. Learn more about the book and share the site via social media to spread the word!
  3. Read excerpts from the book and start a dialogue with others in your network.
  4. Plan on coming to one of the book tour events in September (30+ events in 20+ cities) and commit to promoting the book and the events in your network via social media and personally inviting your friends.
  5. Share your own Citizen Schools story. We want all elements of this book tour to celebrate the impact that Citizen Schools has on the students, Citizen Teachers, AmeriCorps Teaching Fellows, and more, and we need your help. Submit your story to our blog!

I look forward to reflecting back on these upcoming months and seeing that they truly galvanized those inside and outside of the Citizen Schools community to elevate our conversation about education and lift up opportunity for all children.  Thanks in advance for your interest and commitment.