Written by Colleen Morgan, Senior AmeriCorps Member proudly serving on the Irene W. and C. B. Pennington Foundation Team at Kenilworth Science and Technology School
"City Year Baton Rouge is a small city, with big city problems." This sentence has been true since it came to fruition from City Year CEO Michael Brown. Today again, this sentence rang as our very own Grace Andrews, Director of Talent Solutions and Innovations, stood in front of the 93 AmeriCorps members to talk about how we can all be the next generation of our students’ teachers.
Baton Rouge is a unique capitol city. With a population of almost 300,000 people, the statistics that sometimes haunt this city lie within the education department. Grace reminded us that in the schools we serve in every day there are numbers stacked against our students that we, as City Year, come in every day to knock down. Our school system says that one third of the students in Baton Rouge have access to an A or B grade school. Only two thirds of those same students will graduate on time. One out of four of those students live in poverty. These statistics and facts are the numbers that paint the picture of our service every day. These are the students our teachers, administrators, and fellow City Year AmeriCorps members show up for every day. And we work together every day to change those numbers until they are showing that all of our students are succeeding and they are given the best opportunities possible.
Today, a group of idealists that are working to build the foundation for an education system made for everyone, came together. The passion for education in the building was running rampant. If you can imagine the Justice League in educational leaders form, this is it.City Year Baton Rouge has joined forces with several organizations in the Baton Rouge area to help create a pool of talented teachers to help make this city a place where your zip code and tax bracket will not determine the type of education you receive. AmeriCorps members were given the opportunity to talk to representatives from Teach for America, Relay Graduate School of College Education, Southern University, New Schools for Baton Rouge, Brothers Empowered to Teach, IDEA Public Schools, Celerity Charter Schools, Bridge Academy, Democracy Prep, Teach Baton Rouge, Baton Rouge College Prep, and several other special guests. These speakers and presenters are all people who, like City Year, understand that Education in Baton Rouge needs idealists to come help and inspire learners.
City Year Baton Rouge has been given a unique opportunity. We are all in a position where, from here, we have so many directions we can head if we choose to follow the education pathway. This day was not only an introduction to all of these opportunities, but a celebration. There are people here that want to make a difference and invest in the students in this city, and they are willing to do it together.