Our unique approach
City Year AmeriCorps members serve as student success coaches, supporting the development, growth and success of students in systemically under-resourced schools, while cultivating skills to be leaders in their communities and careers. Donate now to support our student success coaches.Donate
Whole School, Whole Child
Focus on relationships: preparing students for success
City Year helps students and schools succeed by delivering holistic support to students, classrooms and the whole school. Drawing from our 30-years of experience in human and youth development, we are committed to supporting the development of both our students and our AmeriCorps members.
Using the best of what we know from research and practice, our Whole School, Whole Child model is now widely understood to be a critical component of successful recovery from the pandemic and its effects on students and communities. Why? Because learning isn’t academic or social emotional, it is integrated. Our holistic, integrated model builds skills and supports mindsets critical for students’ success in school and beyond.
Learn more about Whole School, Whole Child
The student success coach role
Student success coaches, who serve full-time in public schools to build relationships with students and offer them research-based support, offer a critical capacity to educators and schools to help students progress in their development, allow for more personalized learning and engagement, and create more welcoming, equitable learning environments for all. They partner with teachers and school leaders to help students build on their strengths and develop the skills they need to thrive in school and in life.
Learn more about City Year student success coaches
Some foundational elements of the student success coach role include:
Research confirms what many educators have long known: learning happens through relationships, and they’re foundational for our AmeriCorps members to support students. Strong relationships between students and adults who work with them are critical to fuel student growth, resilience and education equity.
social and emotional skill building
Learning is like weaving a rope. All of us pull together different strands of social, emotional and academic skills to solve problems and express new ideas—you can’t improve one skill without focusing on the others. City Year provides integrated interventions that help students weave together strong skills ropes.
Student success coaches work with educators to help create a welcoming school environment, which is essential for whole school improvement. Some ways we do this include school-wide events, lunchtime clubs, and Whole School Greeting, where AmeriCorps members greet students and faculty as they enter the school building, setting the tone for the day and sending a clear message of joy and belonging.
National Partnership for Student Success
City Year is proud to be part of the National Partnership for Student Success (NPSS), a collective effort championed by the Biden-Harris Administration which brings together the US Department of Education, AmeriCorps, a diverse coalition of leading education and youth-serving organizations including Voices for National Service, educators, and school districts, that are committed to expanding access to the evidence-based, holistic supports young people need to thrive.
City Year has been named a lead technical assistance organization in NPSS, promoting the importance of student success coaches, a critical capacity that has been linked to positive student outcomes, both academic and social-emotional.
I'm beyond grateful to be working with [my student success coach] in my classroom. He genuinely cares about the success of the students and provides a great deal of support in making the learning experience more fruitful but also ensuring that everyone, students and myself alike, feel welcome.
Informed by research, rooted in relationships
City Year’s approach is based on research about how students learn. City Year AmeriCorps members’ near-peer status uniquely positions them to form developmental relationships with students, improving both student readiness to learn and schoolwide conditions for learning.
AmeriCorps members focus on reducing “early warning indicators” that place students at increased risk for dropping out of school: low attendance, poor behavior and/or course failure in English Language Arts and mathematics. Research shows that students who exhibit one or more of these warning indicators have at least a 75% chance of dropping out of high school. Reducing or eliminating these warning signs makes it more likely that a student will graduate from high school, dramatically improving their lifetime trajectory.
City Year and our partners commit to multiple years of service in schools so that students “grow up with City Year”—our seven-year promise. City Year supports students during key transition years of their educational experience, from third through ninth grades, when research shows students are most at risk for falling off track.
Recommendations for the Biden Harris Administration
A Corps for Student Success to Address the Impacts of the Pandemic on America’s Young People
In February 2021, more than 100 leaders in education, civil rights and youth development came together to deliberate on what is needed to support young people as they recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
There was consensus on how to approach this challenge: Create a national Corps for Student Success by leveraging leadership, convening authority, federal funding, policy, and inter-agency collaboration to maximize the impact of federal, state and local resources that can provide critical, evidence-based supports to students, particularly those most impacted by the pandemic.
Learn more about our work
Together, we’re creating positive, responsive and welcoming learning environments where students can thrive.Learn more about our national impact
City Year leverages research, external evaluations and learnings alongside our school and district partners to contribute to a broader conversation about how best to support our students and ensure equitable access to learning opportunities for all.Read about the research that informs our work
Our 34,000+ alums become civic and business leaders who continue to make a difference in the communities and professions where they live and work long after their “City Year” is over.Hear from our alums