City Year AmeriCorps members are partnered with teachers in classrooms, and tasked with assisting selected students to improve their attendance, behavior, or course performance (some students may need assistance in all three). These students are identified by the teacher as requiring additional support, and the City Year member assigns those students to specified Focus Lists (either Attendance, Behavior, or Course Performance – our ABC’s!).
In addition to ABC Focus Lists, there is the LEAD Program. LEAD is designed to engage students as leaders, and put them in the drivers seat. They set quarterly goals with corps members, and are challenged to seek out additional responsibilities in the school in order to better prepare them for college.
Corps members often encourage students on their AB or C Focus Lists to also join in LEAD. Doing so allows for more energetic students to channel their energy into positive debate, and to encourage those introverted students to engage in healthy discussion with their peers. Each of these students gains valuable experience formulating and voicing their opinions, and setting goals for themselves which transcend the classroom, and challenge them to think of themselves not just as students, but as individual members of society.
This has proven to be a crucial part in many student-corps member partnerships, with almost all corps members reporting that students involved in LEAD often become more outgoing in both class and their sessions with City Year.
LEAD engages the student in social emotional learning – recognizing their emotions and the effects those emotions have, which allows for the student to map out how to best manage them both in and out of the classroom.
Social emotional learning is a part of education, and there are certainly times when students on academic focus lists engage in them. Participation in LEAD gives students the chance time to focus on themselves as individuals, and as capable leaders.