On Friday, April, 26th, Citizen Schools staff & students, families, AmeriCorps Teaching Fellows, corporate and community partners came together to celebrate the inspiring and hard work of middle school students, volunteer Citizen Teachers and AmeriCorps Teaching Fellows for our annual WOW!NOW Breakfast fundraising event.
Many of our AmeriCorps members go on to achieve many accomplishments but the news of Jennifer Eliezer, AmeriCorps Teaching Fellow at Young Achievers in Mattapan, receiving the Fullbright Foreign Scholarship Award to teach abroad in Costa Rica, was beyond exciting. In her time here with Citizen Schools, Jennifer has built great connections with her students and we couldn’t be any more excited follow her journey.
As each SPLATs lit up with different colors, so did the faces of our students who beamed with pride, joy, and curiosity as they began their unique SPLATs journey. SPLATs is a remarkable tool that exposed students to various STEM careers and academic pathways as they sharpened their skills in critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity. SPLATs didn’t just keep the students moving intellectually, they also were able to exercise physically. Some games focused on trivia, and others were speed-based competitions or obstacle courses. “Giraffes and Leaves” a game created by Mahdiat and Makayla allowed students to imagine they were in a safari, crawling over and around SPLATs as they ‘gathered leaves’ with their heads.
I am an educator. I am not a psychiatrist nor a trained mental health professional, but in my role as a Citizen Schools Teaching Fellow it’s my job to show students I care. The students I work with are between 13 and 15 years old. They have complex feelings and emotions and I seek to treat them as such, as opposed to “just kids” that don’t know any better. When I am supporting students in their classes, I often ask “how are you?” and mean it genuinely.
This month our employee spotlight goes to Vanessa Bishop, Regional Director of the Massachusetts region. When asked where she gets her inspiration from she had this to say, “My faith and students. When I think about both of them, they give me a purpose to keep going when things are challenging. My faith reminds me that there is a bigger purpose in everything that I do. On the same note, our students our the center of all the work and they deserve the best we can give. “
Citizen Schools, a national nonprofit organization headquartered in Boston, is pleased to announce Kathryn Gabriele has been named the Campus Director at the East Somerville Community School. As Campus Director, she will oversee Citizen Schools out-of-school time programming at East Somerville Community School, where she will work with a team of AmeriCorps Teaching Fellows and school administrative staff to provide hands-on learning experiences, taught in partnership with local volunteers, for students.
On Tuesday, December 11th, Citizen Schools Massachusetts students from the Trotter Innovation School, East Somerville Community School and Orchard Gardens K-8 schools got the chance showcase all that they have learned and practiced in a Mock Trial at the Moakley Courthouse in Boston, Massachusetts.
At Citizen Schools, no role is more essential to the success of our students than that of the AmeriCorps Teaching Fellow. Citizen Schools National Teaching Fellows create extraordinary enrichment and academic support experiences for the students we serve the nation. On a daily basis, Fellows deepen connections between schools and parents, help to develop social-emotional skills through mentoring and coaching students, and facilitate hands-on learning opportunities through our apprenticeships.
Brenda Pulgarin was a 2018 summer intern at the Citizen Schools headquarters in Boston, serving on the External Engagement team. Her role consisted of analyzing volunteer survey responses and updating contact records in our database. Brenda attended the Edwards Middle School and is now a sophomore at the John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science.
Deanna Christmas was a 2018 summer high school interns at the Citizen Schools headquarters in Boston on the Civic Engagement team. Her role consists of helping recruit volunteers for the apprenticeships and to support in ensuring that all the supplies are were ready for the upcoming semester of apprenticeships. Deanna attended the Browne Middle School and is now a sophomore at Chelsea High School. Here is her story.
Benjamin Erazo was a 2018 summer intern at Citizen Schools headquarters in Boston. As a member of the Technology team, he was responsible for helping repair computers and assisting the tech team solve any problems. Benjamin attended the Browne Middle School in Chelsea, MA, and is now a sophomore at Chelsea High School.
Each year, the President of the United States recognizes volunteers around the country who have done outstanding service. This year, Norwell resident Michael Bevilacqua was one of the recipients of the President’s Volunteer Service Award. Bevilacqua is a Citizen Teacher, part of Citizen Schools, an organization that partners with low-income communities to provide students with enriching experiences outside of the classroom in hands-on artistic, scientific and legal apprenticeships. Some of these apprenticeships include rocket science, 3D printing, mock trial, documentary filmmaking, social justice and photography.
At our annual WOW!NOW celebration in Boston, Mohamad Ali spoke about the importance of hiring employees with diverse perspectives and skillsets, how Citizen Schools is helping to close the 'IT skills gap,' and called on our cities, states and country to come together to provide opportunities for all students to have an equal opportunity for high-quality education.
Citizen Schools has been awarded a $2M grant from the Biogen Foundation as part of the foundation's recently announced STAR Initiative. As 1 of 6 recipients of the STAR (Science, Teacher Support, Access and Readiness) Initiative, Citizen Schools will expand its signature apprenticeship program to provide hands-on STEM courses, taught by experts, to thousands of middle school students in the Somerville district, and to support classroom teacher instruction during the school day.
The Biogen Foundation today announced the six nonprofits that will share a previously-announced four-year, $10 million grant to drive the development of local STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education ecosystems in Cambridge and Somerville.
On Friday June 1, Citizen Schools’ diverse community of volunteer Citizen Teachers, corporate and community partners, AmeriCorps Teaching Fellows, Citizen Schools staff, students, family and friends gathered at the John F Kennedy Presidential Library in celebration of the impressive work of our students, Teaching Fellows and volunteer Citizen Teachers over the last year.
Every year, Citizen Schools honors the impact that Andrew Balson and Sherif Nada have had on Citizen Schools in their former roles as National Board chairs and in their current roles as Directors Emeriti with the presentation of two awards - The Andrew Balson Leadership Award and Sherif Nada Legacy Award. These awards are presented to two current and two former Citizen Schools Massachusetts students, respectively. This year, the award ceremony was held on May 22, 2018 and members of the community, staff, family and friends joined our National Board to celebrate at Citizen Schools headquarters in Boston.