In the United States, 2.2 million students attend high schools that qualify as “dropout factories,” where half fail to graduate with their class. If students do graduate, only 4 out of 10 will go on to college.
To reverse the trend, researchers know students need to be engaged and inspired as early as middle school, where success is measured by grades and behavior.
Citizen Schools addresses the U.S. dropout crisis by offering an after-school, Expanded Learning Time (ELT) model to under-performing middle schools.
It’s essentially a “second shift” of professional educators and Citizen Teacher volunteers, working to boost students’ educational readiness for high school, and to introduce them to future careers.
With Cisco support, Citizen Schools’ educational professionals and Citizen Teacher volunteers offer students homework and class project guidance, help build study skills and engage in hands-on, relevant learning experiences.
Citizen Teacher volunteers share their passion for their professions during 11-week apprenticeships, where students learn first-hand about career options—particularly in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.
Apprenticeships have focused on building robots and solar cars to studying branding and marketing, from learning the art of negotiation to how to write and film documentaries.
Cisco’s employees are among Citizen Schools’ largest contingent of Citizen Teachers, as more than 125 have taught 65+ apprenticeships since 2009, many on STEM topics.
With a donation of Cisco’s information and communication technology products, Citizen Schools has been able to upgrade and expand its infrastructure, so that it can reach more staff, academic fellows, program directors, and school partners, through instant messaging and web conferencing.
Efficiencies have helped the organization save money on equipment costs, increase productivity, and cut travel time and expense.
Citizen Schools is also able to bring more technology to students, through remote learning options and access to Cisco’s Networking Academy.
Since 2009, with Cisco’s support of US$1.27 million in cash and products, and with the volunteerism of 125+ employees as Citizen Teachers, Citizen Schools is reaching more students in more schools, enhancing their learning opportunities, and preparing them for success in college and a technology-driven workforce.
Citizen Schools has expanded its ELT program from 10 schools in five states, to 31 sites in eight states, serving 5200 students.
Cisco is also supporting US2020, a national initiative incubated at Citizen Schools that resolves to bring more STEM expert volunteers into the classroom, to create even more learning opportunities and role models for underserved students, particularly minorities and girls.
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