By Kate Morris, AmeriCorps member, 107th Street Elementary School
Michael Messina is a 3rd grade partner teacher at 107th Street Elementary School and a champion for students. With a decade of teaching under his belt, he is a wonderful counterpart for the City Year team as they embark on their maiden voyage at 107th Elementary school. We sat down with Mr. Messina to talk about City Year’s impact on the 107th St. Eagles.
Q: Do you think City Year has had an effect on campus culture here at 107th in these first few months?
A: The students have definitely responded positively to City Year coming to campus. You can see it in the way they change when they step onto the yard in the morning as well as how they act when passing a City Year member in the hallway. City Year brings a lot of positivity and energy to campus, which is really good since our scholars are young.
Q: What has it been like to have a City Year member in your room for the first time?
A: At first, I have to admit, I wasn’t thrilled about the idea of a City Year member being in my room since I’ve never had anyone else in my room when I teach, but it's been really good for the students. We can now do a lot of one-on-one work and customize the approach we take to the curriculum, so it can be effective for our students. Students have also responded well to having a City Year member in the room because they can get that individualized help that they haven’t had as readily available.
Q: What are some goals that you’d like see our scholars achieve this year?
A: Two big goals we want our scholars to achieve this year are that each of them increase their reading score by three levels, in addition to moving up a math level by the end of this school year.
Q: What drives your passion for education?
A: Kids—watching them learn and grow motivates me to do a better job. I love when the students start to understand and have that “light bulb” moment. In contrast, the students that don’t understand, it's my job to find other ways to help them understand.