Rosa Aguilera has been a 4th-grade teacher for over 20 years and has had a City Year in her classroom for the past three years.
What impact have you witnessed City Year has had at 122nd Street Elementary?
A: After three years of having a City Year in my classroom, I have seen a huge impact on our campus. Classes at our school are full, sometimes with more than 30 students. It becomes difficult for teachers to impact each student and that’s where City Year comes in. They are able to engage multiple students, and develop relationships with them through small groups and one on one conversation. They are able to assist teachers by serving as a bridge that helps to fill in the gaps between teacher and student.
2. How does having a City Year mentor in a student’s life make a difference?
A: City Year AmeriCorps members are able to juggle multiple roles on our campus. They serve as counselors and provide guidance to many students who need role models in their lives. Due to the consistent hard work and genuine love from City Year throughout the past 4 years, our students have built a trust with the leaders in yellow. Most students feel more comfortable addressing an issue with a City Year member than with their teachers. Having City Year on campus means our students always have a support system cheering them on, and many of our students need that.
3. How do teachers and City Year collaborate in the classroom?
A: The main goal of a partnership between a teacher and a City Year member is to meet the needs of the students. From my experience, a good partnership is full of open communication and sharing of student information. It’s about working together through each other’s strengths and challenges in order to build a productive classroom for our students. I personally have met with all of my City Year members and have discussed lesson plans, student academic data, and different issues students may encounter throughout the year. These types of dialogues make for a better partnership and ultimately betters the service we provide to students.
4. What is your favorite thing about City Year?
A: My favorite thing about City Year is that the program assists teachers and makes reaching more students a reality. City Year members partner with teachers and reinforce material that is covered in class through small groups and one and one pull outs. The work we do is difficult, and having City Year in our classrooms helps to make impacting more students a reality.
5. How does having city year on the school campus affect the school environment?
A: Having City Year on campus completely changes the whole environment. Students, especially our upper-grade students, truly know that City Year is here for them. They know that there is someone that will always support them, someone who will always challenge them, and someone who will mentor them. Teachers on our campus also know they can depend on City Year, whether that means from supporting our students to assisting with whole school events. City Year has become a permanent part of 122’s culture that teachers, parents, and our students have come to truly love and appreciate.
6. What message would you like to leave for the team?
A: I would like to thank all of the City Year members because of the support they provide our students. They are truly making a difference on our campus and are positive role models. Keep working hard and believe in the work you all do. It’s important and you are making a huge difference.