Corporate Social Responsibility

CSR Partner: Citizen Schools

Expanding educational opportunities for low-income students

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Each year, 2.2 million students attend high schools that qualify as “dropout factories,” where about half will fail to graduate with their class. Citizen Schools works to stem America’s dropout crisis by engaging students’ in education while they are still in middle school, preparing them for success in high school, college, and beyond.

Who: Talented adults engage, inspire struggling students

Research indicates that students who are falling behind in math or English in the sixth grade have only a 10 to 20 percent chance of graduating high school on time. Citizen Schools aims to reverse the trend through its Extended Learning Time (ELT) model, which provides after-school mentoring and support to low-performing middle schools.

  • With Cisco support since 2009, Citizen Schools has expanded its ELT program from 10 schools in five states to 31 sites in eight states in the 2012-13 academic year.
  • Volunteer professionals, or “Citizen Teachers,” teach 10-week after-school apprenticeships on topics they are passionate about, from blogging to filmmaking to robotics.
  • Cisco employees are among Citizen Schools’ largest group of Citizen Teachers, with more than 44 volunteers offering 23 apprenticeships in 2012 alone.  

How: Technology extends educators’ reach to more students, schools

Donations of Cisco's ICT products have enabled Citizen Schools to reach thousands more students, by more easily recruiting and training staff and volunteers.

  • An updated technology infrastructure has helped reduce equipment costs, increase productivity, and cut down on travel time and expenses.
  • Staff and volunteers at locations across the United States can meet and share best practices through instant messaging and web conferencing.
  • Cisco is also supporting US2020, a national initiative (incubated at Citizen Schools) to bring more science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) mentors into classrooms.

Impact Multiplied

  • 66% of Boston Citizen Schools alumni now of college age have enrolled in a two- or four-year college
  • 71% of Citizen Schools students graduate on time, versus 59% for non-participants
  • 90% of Citizen Schools alumni realized proficiency gains in English and math
  • 125 Cisco employees have served as Citizen Teachers since 2009, the largest contingent of volunteers for the organization; they have led 65 apprenticeships, many on STEM topics

"Kids who have been in Citizen Schools not only enroll in college-track high schools at a higher rate, they do better in high school, they finish high school at a higher rate and go on to college at a higher rate.'" -- Macy Parker, Director of Professional Development and former Campus Director at Elmhurst Community Prep, Citizen Schools, FOX News interview, November 2010