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How Collaborative Partnerships Drive Student Outcomes

In a recent article from NPR, teachers across the U.S. shared their experiences as educators amid what is communally being named one of the most difficult years in our modern school system. As a part of City Year Kansas City, our AmeriCorps members have heard and seen similar stories firsthand – from staffing shortages impact on workload to anxiety consistent with protecting our communal health. City Year Kansas City has always thrived on the core idea of idealism in the face of adversity, but recent history has seemed to rewrite what idealism must work to persevere through. With idealism at the center and the rising need to support and uplift teachers, we have seen the pivotal relationship between partner teacher and AmeriCorps member flourish in new and impactful ways. 

City Year AmeriCorps members build strong partnerships with teachers

Across Kansas City our CYKC team has had the opportunity to work day in and day out in hundreds of teacher partnerships. These partnerships allow students to receive more individualized support and for teachers to have more opportunities to manage direct instruction in the classroom. For our AmeriCorps members, this is also a chance for them to engage daily in a close collaborative relationship that advocates for student need, grows their professional skills, and drives student academic success, preparing them for whatever career and service steps may come next.  

All of our partnerships have the possibility of role modeling what components are central to a supportive community through their work together. One partnership that has been focused on working together with excellence has been between AmeriCorps member Rei Venardi and ELA teacher Mrs. Adelice Barriere at Northeast Middle School in Kansas City Public Schools. Rei is currently serving as a second-year AmeriCorps member as a student success coach in the classroom. Over the past two years she has served in virtual, hybrid and in-person classes. Rei and Mrs. Barriere have been excellent examples of getting creative to meet student needs and being supportive for both to be resilient in continuing as educators. 

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Learn more about how City Year AmeriCorps members are student success coaches.


Rei and Mrs. Barriere reflected on what middle school students need in these times in the school building and shared their needs for grace and understanding while patiently teaching unfamiliar content. They noted that the students they work with have not had a full year in the school building, learning collaboratively, since their mid-elementary school years. This elevates the impact that patience as a teacher and tutor goes in supporting our students through the often-tumultuous middle school years.  

Northeast Middle Impact Manager Tim Wise, shares how their partnership has been able to support others in the school building, “Rei and Mrs. Barriere’s partnership is a great example of our value “Students First, Collaboration Always.” They are regularly coming up with new methods and tools to support the students in the classroom, then share those tools with other staff.” Powerful partnerships offer new ways to meet the barriers and fill the gaps being presented in our changing environment.

Rei and Mrs. Barriere shared how working collaboratively has led to great utilization of small group tutoring, study groups, and other opportunities for communal and individualized learning to meet all students where they are at. We hope to see partnerships that center students will continue to uplift our school communities for not only students, but also teachers, staff and families. Now more than ever, our teachers nationally are seeking support and City Year is grateful to find space to give it through service. Rei shares her perspective on the subject, “My teacher and I both feel that there are just not enough hours in the day sometimes to get done all that needs to; so, I assist and do what I can to lessen her burdens during the school day.” And Mrs. Barriere echoes the impact of partnership across the school community, “The biggest positive of having City Year in our school is the additional support for both the teachers as well as the students.”  

As we continue in implementing our service model in Kansas City schools and getting creative for our students and their families, we need to rely on the creativity and perspective of our teachers and AmeriCorps members. We thank our partner teachers for being role models to not only students, but to our teams as we learn and grow in education to serve more equitably. 


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