2015-02-05

By Rebecca Leclerc, AmeriCorps member and Team Leader, serving on the Wellington Management team at Trotter Innovation School

Last year I was an AmeriCorps member serving in a 5th-grade classroom at Trotter Innovation School in Dorchester. This year I am back at the school, leading my team through their year of service. At the beginning of this year my team would say to me, “You know everyone!” or “We got to just hit the ground running because everyone already trusted City Year.” Hearing these sentiments made me proud of my team last year and the relationships we built, but what has been even better is seeing this year’s team carry on that legacy.

In 3rd-grade, AmeriCorps member Amy Strauss partners with her teachers, a specialist, and a paraprofessional to monitor students' attendance in the morning. Tardies and absences never go unnoticed, and the 3rd-grade parents who haven’t interacted with City Year before are responding well to attendance phone calls.

One of our new 6th-grade teachers, Mr. Donati, was very impressed by the bi-weekly teacher briefings he receives from Emily Siskind. These briefings are an in-depth update on the service we are doing with students on attendance, social emotional skills, and literacy tutoring. After reading his first briefing, he sent an email saying, “Awesome work, Emily. It's great to see all this in a report. I know I see you doing all these great things, but it's hard to keep track of. Looking forward to the next one!”

In the 4th-grade pod, Ben Peterson and Sergio Munoz were key in helping two new teachers transition to the Trotter. Both teachers have praised how helpful they have been and how willing they are to take initiative.

And, in Ms. Toole’s 5th-grade English language arts classroom, AmeriCorps members Loni Herman and Chapin Atwood have been partnering closely with Ms. Toole to differentiate instruction for each reading group.

In the classroom and out of it, my team sticks to the City Year value of “Students First, Collaboration Always.” While the partnerships between my team and their partner teachers take unique shapes, the teamwork and engagement between our AmeriCorps members and teachers is present in all of the schools we serve. Ultimately, they are vital to help our students meet their full potential and see them through to graduation.

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