Video: HP Expands Students' Worlds

On Tuesday, April 29, 250 people gathered at the elegant Carolands Chateau in Hillsborough, CA, for Citizen Schools California's second annual gala, benefitEd. Citizen Schools California supporters and champions explored the halls of the exquisite chateau to see Bay Area middle school students showcase their Design Thinking projects, play with the android apps they created, and present the robots they built. The event celebrated the success of Citizen Schools students and honored our partnership with the HP Company Foundation.

Through our partnership with organizations like the HP Company Foundation, we are able to offer more engaging opportunities to students in the Bay Area. This video introduces us to HP’s dedicated volunteer teachers, who connect their passions for technology and photography to the dreams and aspirations of the Bay Area's young minds.


Film Credits: Director:Aaron Shadwell Producer: Colin Stokes

Special Thanks: Marlon Evans Amika Guillaume Sarah Partin Alison Townley Jim Vanides Alumni, students and teachers at Cesar Chavez Academy

Press Release: US2020 and President Clinton Announce City Competition to Spur Innovation and Growth in High-Quality STEM Mentoring

Contact: Holly Trippett, US2020 and Citizen Schools, (617) 695-2300 x1161 or (301)-452-3904, hollytrippett@citizenschools.org




CHICAGO, IL – June 14, 2013 – Today at CGI America, a nationwide gathering hosted by the Clinton Global Initiative, President Clinton announced that US2020, a new initiative that aims to engage one million science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) professionals by the year 2020, will launch a city competition to increase the amount of STEM mentoring in communities nationally. New US2020 partners were also announced at the event, including Tata Consultancy Services and HP.

"We need these one million volunteers to ensure that we're going to have students take the courses" that will inspire and prepare them for STEM careers, said President Clinton.

Joining current US2020 Founding Leadership Partners Cisco, Cognizant, and SanDisk, Tata Consultancy Services and HP will collectively work towards US2020’s goal of mobilizing one million STEM professionals to mentor students by the year 2020. Through an online matching platform, US2020 will help place STEM volunteers into high impact mentoring opportunities with top nonprofits working across different grades, settings, and delivery models. As more companies join this effort, their early leadership will help catalyze a culture shift in which mentoring becomes the new normal for STEM professionals, much like pro bono work is in the legal profession.

US2020 and its corporate partners are taking strides to strengthen the STEM career pipeline for traditionally underrepresented students by connecting them to professionals in the field who will serve as mentors and teachers. These skilled volunteers will bring subjects to life and provide engaging moments of discovery to students through real-world, hands-on projects and academic coaching facilitated by nonprofits like The National Commission on Teaching and America's Future (NCTAF), Citizen Schools, and others. Ultimately, these students will have access to career opportunities they might never have considered and will help fill the STEM jobs of the future that will keep the country economically competitive.

To push the US2020 effort forward, the initiative and its partners launched the US2020 City Competition with President Clinton during the closing plenary of CGI America. The strategy will select and support between three to five cities that propose plans to mobilize STEM volunteers through partnerships with leading science and technology businesses. The chosen cities will be offered $1 million or more in cash and in-kind support to bring together businesses, nonprofits, city governments, and local philanthropies around a coordinated effort to spark the minds of students across their communities.

The US2020 City Competition is inspired by other successful awards and strategies, including the Obama administration's Race to the Top and Investing in Innovation (i3) competitions, X PRIZES, and the Ashoka Changemakers and Carnegie Corporation’s “Partnering for Excellence” Competition.

“We believe it is essential to offer engaging learning experiences with STEM professionals to students who need their support and the opportunity for cities to utilize their STEM workforce to educate and prepare the next generation of STEM professionals,” said Eric Schwarz, co-founder and CEO of Citizen Schools and Executive Chairman of US2020.

The demand for STEM skills in the workforce is projected to increase and outpace the number of students working towards a STEM profession. Students of all levels, particularly girls and underrepresented minorities, receive little exposure to opportunities and experiences with STEM experts. A recent study from Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program found that STEM jobs are a major economic driver across the U.S. with 20 percent of all jobs in the country requiring a “high level of knowledge” in at least one STEM field.

“To succeed on tomorrow’s world stage, students must today have a solid foundation in STEM and be fluent in the technologies that will power the global economy of the 21st Century,” said Surya Kant, President of TCS’ North America, UK and Europe operations. “TCS is proud to bring not only our technological expertise to this effort, but also the passion and commitment that our employees have in lending their talents to positively impact their communities, across the country and around the world.”

Tata Consultancy Services is a Founding Leadership Partner of US2020, providing more than $500,000 in cash and in-kind support. Tata Consultancy Services will be the lead partner in developing US2020's web-based matching technology to connect STEM mentors with high-quality volunteer placements. HP is also joining the US2020 initiative as a Founding Member. Both Tata Consultancy Services and HP are aspiring to get 20 percent of their STEM workforce mentoring students by 2020.

“HP’s aim is to enable the next generation of leaders and innovators to leverage their full potential in an IT-driven world. Our employees have been working with Citizen Schools for many years as part of our commitment to offering skills and time,” says Gabi Zedlmayer, Vice President Sustainability and Social Innovation at HP.

In partnership with founding Fortune 500 companies Cisco, Cognizant, and SanDisk and founding partners AfterCollege, Citizen Schools, CodeNow, HotChalk, National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future, and TEALS, US2020 has pledged to work over the next few years to recruit hundreds of additional education non-profits and school districts that will commit to high standards in STEM mentoring, common and transparent metrics, and efforts to scale high-quality placement for STEM mentors in both school day and extended day, extended week, and extended year settings.

About US2020

US2020 is a new organization formed through a partnership of leading education non-profits and corporate leaders in the STEM field. The initiative emerged from a White House call to generate big, innovative solutions to our STEM education challenge, with a focus on increasing access to STEM careers for girls, underrepresented minorities in the sciences, and low-income children. US2020 will be incubated within Citizen Schools, a leading education non-profit and will become a standalone non-profit entity in 2014. US2020 relies on a committed and growing community of public, private, non-profit and individual partners.

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Christian Science Monitor: Eric Schwarz and Citizen Schools give inner-city kids a leg up

Christian Science Monitor Eric Schwarz and Citizen Schools give inner-city kids a leg up

January 11, 2012

Eric Schwarz, CEO and Co-founder of Citizen Schools, is featured in the Christian Science Monitor as a "Difference Maker." The piece highlights the organization's progression over the last 18 years under Schwarz's leadership. Citizen Schools has seen success nationally including school and student improvement, a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) initiative, and recent work with the White House to develop "a national model in which top Silicon Valley companies would encourage their employees to put 20 or more hours a year into volunteering with kids."

"I've seen the Citizen Schools project within some of our most challenged schools and really seen that program play a role in the turnaround of some of those schools," says Mitchell Chester, the Massachusetts commissioner of elementary and secondary education. "I believe they played a substantial part in those turnarounds."

Read more.

CEO: Inspiring Lessons Learned from Skoll World Forum

Eric Schwarz is the CEO and Co-Founder of Citizen Schools.

As is often the case at the Skoll World Forum for social entrepreneurs in Oxford, England, which wraps up today, an artist with grit stole the show.  This year it was Annie Lennox.  In her heyday she was Annie Lennox and the Eurythmics.  Then came decades of AIDS and anti-war activism, a family, and ongoing success (four Grammy's) as a pop star.  Last night at Oxford's New Theater (one of the few buildings I was in all week less than 600 years old) Lennox performed for 1000 social entrepreneurs and other social change-agents who gather here for a remarkable annual conference that marries indignation at the injustices of the world, wonder at changes underway, and confidence that, on balance, injustice is in retreat.  Man, can she sing.  And, man, what a spirit.

I watched Lennox perform while sitting with Dorothy Stoneman,  the veteran social justice leader who built the YouthBuild movement over the last 35 years, transforming hundreds of thousands of lives across now 268 communities. Dorothy's program works because she has an unshakeable belief in the capacity of young, poor men of color -- her core constituency -- to lift up their communities and themselves.  This belief has sustained her and YouthBuild as she has built a still-tenuous funding base and continues growing and fighting for opportunity with every fibre of her being.  A few rows in front of us was Cecelia Flores-Oebanda who is working to end human slavery in her native Philippines and across the world.  Taddy Blecher, who sat a few rows away, is creating free universities across Africa -- free because class sizes are as large as 500 and because the students also work at a variety of university-run businesses, raising the money needed to eliminate tuition.

All around us were dozens of pioneers, finding new ways to bring education, health, jobs, water, and freedom to the world's neediest citizens.

Every year I come home from Skoll humbled by the amazing work of others, excited at the insights we are able to share, and inspired to step-up our work to reimagine and reinvent the U.S. education system.  Following, in no particular order, are a few lessons I learned this year, or was reminded of, and are top of mind for me as I prepare to fly home:

  • Much of the best social change work in the world is about building social networks and bridges -- bridges between  farmers, fishermen and markets, as with FairTrade USA, Root Capital, and the Marine Stewardship Council; between medicine and remote villages, as with Riders for Health and their motorcycling medical delivery drivers across Africa; between different cultures and nationalities, as with Search for Common Ground and Ecopeace; and between children and successful professionals, as with Citizen Schools and INJAZ Al-Arab, which connects business volunteers to schools across the middle east.
  • Many social entrepreneurs help the "client" become a producer, building ownership, efficacy, and skill at what Citizen Schools calls the top of the triangle.  Taddy Blecher and Dorothy Stoneman blur the line between student and worker as does Bill Strickland at his Pittsburgh-based Manchester Craftsman's Guild and Martin Burt at Fundacion Paraguaya.

  • Social entrepreneurs are skilled at developing financial models that can scale -- pushing hard to reduce costs so they can deliver quality services at a price that communities of need can afford. For example, Debbie Aung Ding and her husband Jim Taylor, who met as civil rights foot soldiers in Mississippi, worked for years in her native Myanmar to get the price of a plastic water pump down to $13, allowing them to sell the pump and other income-producing products to 100,000 families.
  • The best social entrepreneurs treat the children and families they serve with respect and trust.  I learned of a new school in Chile where the outcasts from other schools learn Yoga and Meditation, eat delicious food, and learn to love their teachers -- eventually -- and only after the teachers display saintly doses of patience.  The school, Fundacion Origen, has gotten the youth development and ed reform balance right, engaging and building up the youth while also delivering higher test scores and a drop-out-rate of zero, said founder Mary Ann Muller.
  • Social entrepreneurs are creative and look for solutions in surprising places. Bart Weetjens of Apopo, for instance, has trained rats how to sniff out and defuse land mines, reclaiming hundreds of thousands of acres to use again as farmland. 

  • Increasingly, social entrepreneurs are working in close partnership with government.  In California, Roadtrip Nation, is working with the state department of Education to embed its career-exploration curriculum in high schools across the state.  And individual change-makers are migrating between nonprofits and government, whether at the grand scale of Partners In Health co-founder, Jim Kim, going to run the World Bank, or the very local scale of Becky Vogel  leaving Citizen Schools to run expanded learning time partnerships for The Edwards Middle School.
  • While many of the flashiest projects involve direct service in remote villages or third-world cities, some of the most meaningful efforts at Skoll involve seemingly dry topics like land title reform and accounting.  Global Footprint Network, for instance, is trying to establish a better accounting system than Gross Domestic Product, because GDP calculates production and consumption and does not take into full account the devaluing of the world's capital resources such as its land and water.
  • I learned as well, that the world's largest companies see the world changing fast and want to be part of the change.  With millions leaving poverty each year, even as great disparities remain,  they see new markets opening, and they see new combinations of talent, technology, and program combining together to make change where change did not happen before. The companies want in on the action and want to help, which is why Cisco, and HP, and Google, and Twitter, and more were at the conference, eager to use their talent and their tools to make the world a better place.
  • I learned there are pockets of people all over the world who know about and draw inspiration from Citizen Schools.  Two years ago I met with Louise van Rhyn, CEO and Founder of Symphonia for South Africa. Now Louise says she goes all around her country talking about the 80 percent of a child's waking hours that are out of school and the need for citizens to step up as full partners with the state in ensuring healthy futures for their children and their country.  "We elected a new government," Louise told me last night, "but now we need models like Citizen Schools to get our people engaged in making our society work."  Others in Japan, Colombia, and England said they are frequent visitors to our web site.  Willy Oppenheim, a Rhodes Scholar and founder of Omprakash, which connects volunteers, to schools around the world, said he has drawn inspiration from Citizen Schools since his days teaching in rural Maine; he offered to push the Teaching Fellow job opportunity on his web site, which gets 13,000 unique visitors every month.

  • My last lesson was about grit.  We talk about how our kids will need to develop and show grit as they take on big challenges and work their way through hardships to inspiring futures.  We on the staff need grit too.  And we need to find ways to perpetually replenish our supply -- whether it is through listening to Annie Lennox, talking with an inspirational peer, or just spending a little more time with a child or parent or volunteer at Citizen Schools and reminding ourselves that we are helping to build a bridge to a better, fairer, more beloved future.

NPR KQED: Educators Go From Soloists to Choreographers in the Future School Day

Educators Go From Soloists to Choreographers in the Future School Day

KQED San Francisco, NPR

February 8, 2011

Joe Ross, Executive Director of Citizen Schools California, shares his thoughts on the future school day on NPR's MindShift blog.  Read the post and watch the video here.

WhiteHouse.gov: Citizen Schools included in STEM Press Release

President Obama to Announce Major Expansion of “Educate to Innovate” Campaign to Improve Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Education


September 16, 2010

Citizen Schools is included in this White House press release regarding an expansion of the “Educate to Innovate” STEM efforts. Click here to read the press release.

HP and the HP Company Foundation Commit to Changing the Lives of Bay Area Students

In 2006, Citizen Schools changed the game for students at the Edwards Middle School in Boston, a school that was on the verge of closure, with a new idea – Expanded Learning Time (ELT) – that added 35% more learning time to the school day.  Following the implementation of ELT with Citizen Schools as a lead partner, the school eliminated the achievement gap for students in math and erased eighty percent of the state gap on literacy and science standardized tests.  Today, the Edwards School is one of the highest achieving middle schools in Boston. Since then, ELT has expanded to eleven campuses across the country and, in partnership with HP, we’re poised to bring ELT – and a path to high school and college – to many more of our students in the Bay Area.

The HP Company Foundation recently committed $500,000 over two years to ensure that Citizen Schools can increase the number of students we serve in Redwood City by 10%, open or convert new ELT sites for struggling schools in San Mateo County, and get great results for our students, including improved academic achievement, attendance, and attitudes and beliefs about future academic and career prospects.

Here’s to HP, the HP Company Foundation and the many other corporate partners who provide the vital resources Citizen Schools’ students need to graduate from high school on time and arrive to college well prepared!