Eric Strong is the 9th grade “Math Support” teacher at Alain LeRoy Locke College Preparatory Academy. His class fills skill gaps so students are able to successful complete their algebra course.
Christine Stanley is the 9th grade “Read 180” teacher at the school. Her class is aimed at getting students’ reading up to grade level.
What will be the legacy for the 2014-15 City Year corps serving at Locke?
Strong: A shift in the positivity. There was a low level of positivity last year for multiple reasons and we noticed that when City Year was on campus doing all those chants and all those cheers . . .even though some kids weren’t sure about it, eventually they started catching on, and it started being a positive thing. Kids would start missing City Year when they weren’t here on certain days. “Where’s City Year?! Why aren’t they here today?!”
Stanley: It’s a positive culture and it’s consistent. Every morning the corps members are walking down the hallway singing about being professional, tucking in shirts, keeping GPAs up – all in a positive way. It’s not teachers nagging; it’s in a really positive, fun way.
How does having a City Year mentor in a student's life make a difference?
Stanley: Having a corps member in the classroom is an extra pair of eyes. The City Year corps members are closer to the students in age. They’re more like a role model and students can relate to them more.
Why has having a City Year AmeriCorps member in your classroom made a difference?
Strong: I’ve enjoyed the student interaction with the corps members and the fact that students feel like they have more opportunities for help in the classroom. When you have 25-30 kids in the classroom, you can’t get to every student. When you have a City Year corps member in the classroom who is ready and willing to help and assist anyway they can . . .we have a much more equitable situation.
How do teachers and City Year AmeriCorps members collaborate in the classroom?
Strong: All of the classes in which I have a City Year are my highest performing classes, and I don’t think that’s a coincidence. It’s very obvious that my three classes with City Year corps members are my three highest performing classes, and that’s because they get the help they need outside of class and inside of class. They feel more confident, they’re feeling more prepared, and more engaged. It’s a huge difference.