Taking a Complaint-Free Moment

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I’m no stranger to complaints. I field a lot of them in my position as a 6th grade literacy tutor and Extended Learning Time facilitator at Clyde L. Fischer Middle School. This week, I decided to reverse the tables. I asked … Continue reading

Expanding Inclusivity at Lee Mathson Middle School

Written by Ally Sawyer, corps member on the Applied Materials Team at Lee Mathson Middle School

At Lee Mathson Middle School, where I serve, City Year works closely with the school administration to provide a seamless and comprehensive support structure for students. The program this year is different as I’m sure it is different every year. One way this has impacted me personally is that I facilitate a small block of Resource Specialist Program students: students that fall under the special education umbrella and require additional support. Last year, these students were mixed in with their differently leveled peers, which did not benefit them. Currently, they travel together in each of their after-school extended learning blocks, which provides them with scaffolded material and a higher teacher to student ratio, as well as allowing for personalized one-on-one support.

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Mathson Corps Members with Principal Montejano, Vice Principal Leathers, and Siobhan Kenney, Director of Global Community Affairs at Applied Materials, Mathson’s Team Sponsor

One of the most attractive elements of City Year is that we are entirely composed of young, educated, highly invested Corps Members, and we use the power of young people to shape and grow the organization we have chosen to represent. One example of this is the way City Year at Lee Mathson Middle School has shifted to fully incorporate students with differently abled needs. Each ‘class’ of Corps Members continues to grow the program, to strengthen it. To be clear, each year of Corps Members are not distinct separate entities; every legacy builds on the shoulders of the year before, led by the City Year staff who do not leave after one year. These lasting relationships have strengthened City Year San Jose/Silicon Valley’s partnership with the Alum Rock Unified School District, to the point where the school itself makes it clear to parents and students that it is the expectation for all sixth grade students to be enrolled in the City Year Extended Learning Time after-school program.

The Resource Specialist Program class is all of ten students large, and it would be easy—almost understandable—for them to be lost in the scramble of the public school system, or even lost in City Year’s program, which has over 180 students enrolled. I am proud to serve for these students, who have to work twice as hard with half the resources, and I am proud that I have joined an organization that is focused to providing not only students, but schools with the support needed for success; a true dedication to the model of ‘Whole School, Whole Child.’

City Year Through The Eyes of A Student: An Interview With Second Grader, Eugene

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By Jenna Morris, Corps Member 

Eugene plays at recess with corps member Jenna Morris

Eugene plays at recess with corps member Jenna Morris

If you ask any City Year corps member what they most like about serving at City Year, almost everyone will say “the kids.” As a corps member, I’ve had the privilege to get to know Eugene, a second grader who is in our Extended Learning Time after-school program. Eugene enjoys playing outside, eating strawberry ice cream, doing experiments, and is a member of our football club where he enjoys helping Ms. Sharmaine and Ms. Nicole. Last week I interviewed Eugene to get to know him better and learn about how City Year is impacting his life.

 

JENNA: What is your favorite thing about City Year?
EUGENE: They like to play with me and they help me. I like to play tag and Ms. and Mr. Fox.

JENNA: What have you learned so far in City Year?
EUGENE: I learned to be a good person. I am learning to not bully. I learned how to make a team and make friends.

JENNA: Who is someone you admire and why?
EUGENE: My family because they buy me costumes for Halloween. They help me to learn Spanish and Vietnamese. I was born in Vietnam. I have friends in Vietnam that I look up to. I look up to my Mom who lives in Texas and my grandpa who lives in San Jose.

JENNA: If you could be a food, what food would you be and why?
EUGENE: Strawberry ice cream because I like strawberry ice cream.

JENNA: If you could be an animal, what animal would you be and why?
EUGENE: Dragon because my favorite animal is dragons because they breathe fire and have wings.

JENNA: Tell me an interesting fact about yourself.
EUGENE: I make science projects. I made a volcano and it exploded. Then I cleaned up my mess so my grandma took me to Chuck E Cheese.

JENNA: What do you want to be when you grow up? Why?
EUGENE: I want to be a worker for Target. I want to make things for the children to play with and make clothes for them to wear at school and home.

I really enjoyed interviewing Eugene and getting to know him better. It’s so great to hear that the work we are doing matters and that the students are enjoying themselves, learning, and growing.

Eugene plays with his ELT classmates.

Eugene plays with his ELT classmates.

Corps Member Spotlight: Jakob Rosenberg

Here is the first of a new City Year San Jose/Silicon Valley series, “Corps Member Spotlight.” First year corps member Jakob Rosenberg shares his City Year experience with you from why he serves to bad haircuts to his favorite parts of the school day.

Name: Jakob Rosenberg

Bio: I’m 22 years old from good ol’ Austin, Texas and I graduated with a BBA in Management Information Systems from Texas A&M University. Whoop!

Why I Serve: I chose to serve this year with City Year because I wanted to give back for everything that I have been fortunate enough to receive. I love working with kids and when I heard about City Year through an email and researched it online, I instantly knew that I wanted to serve as a corps member. I really want my students to realize that they can do amazing things with their lives and to have them believe in themselves.

A Day In the Life of Jakob:

Jakob leading the math block of City Year’s Extended Learning Time program.

Jakob leading the math block of City Year’s Extended Learning Time program.

7:00am: Roll out of bed and carpool with my fellow corps members to Fischer Middle School.
7:45am: Circle with my unbelievably amazing, strong 11 member team, the JPMorgan Chase & Co. team, serving at Clyde Fischer Middle School.
8:15am: Morning greet the students as they arrive on campus
8:30am: Tutor 6th grade students in math and prep for the Extended Learning Time Program (ELT) – City Year’s after school program that extends the learning day for the entire 6th grade population at Fischer.
10:15am: Meet with my attendance student during brunch, having a snack, and chatting about how he’s doing overall
10:25am: Continue to tutor 6th graders in math
11:30am: Support lunch recess for 6th graders. Monitor as well as participate in games and have conversations with the students
12:15pm: Lunchtime!
1:00pm: Continue to tutor 6th graders in math
2:00pm: I am the attendance coordinator for Fischer, so I check students’ attendance for the day and email the corps members whose students were absent or tardy that day.
2:45pm: ELT begins with a BRIDGE block that promotes more fun and team building. During the BRIDGE block, we help students bridge the social and academic gap from the transition from 5th grade to 6th grade.
3:00pm: I teach a math block to 6th grade students that acts as a more interactive review of the material from their school day
3:45pm: Snack and structured games which allow the students some down time to just be kids.
5:00pm: The students who walk home due to the early time of sunset, sign out, the other students go to an enrichment block. I then utilize this time to prep for tutoring and ELT by writing lesson plans, coming up with activities, and getting things together for the next day.
6:15pm: Check attendance sheets and closing circle

Favorite Part of the School Day: Getting to debrief and hear how the day went for my BRIDGE students at the end of the day. It’s great to see how excited some of them can be to share all about their day.

Favorite Student Quote:The day after a haircut, “Mr. Rosenberg, you really let yourself go…” It really wasn’t that bad!