Making an impact in City Year intervention spaces
At City Year, student success coaches support students through instructional interventions in reading and math. An instructional intervention is a specific program, or set of steps, designed to help a student improve in an area of need. During interventions, students have the opportunity to work in a small group setting and receive personalized support to meet students where they are at academically. Interventions are designed so that a scholar’s progress can be tracked over the course of an academic school year.
At Rogers Street Academy, my teammates and I are able to have intervention sessions with our students every day. In a normal week, a corps member runs two or three English and Language Arts (ELA) sessions on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and two Math sessions on Wednesday and Thursday. Due to this schedule, many of our students are well past the 900 minute goal and some are upwards of 1,700 minutes, our end of the year goal here at City Year Milwaukee! This goal is based on research that says if students get at least 900 minutes of small group attention they are more able to close their achievement gap.
It has been truly inspiring to see the effect that these academic interventions have had on students at Rogers. Each time my teammates and I meet with a small group of students, we build stronger relationships with those students. Students learn best when they have a relationship with their City Year that goes beyond academics. Being able to see the way that students ask questions, confide in corps members and adjust their attitude and work ethic, is a testament to, and a reminder of, the importance of the relationships we build each day with students.
Another important aspect of intervention sessions is that it becomes a space for corps members to talk to students about Social Emotional Learning (SEL) skills. In my reading group, I have a student who has a hard time making connections with his classmates. Often, he will say something meant to be funny, but the rest of the group does not receive it that way. He and I work one-on-one in SEL check-ins, creating goals together to help improve his SEL skills, but it’s helpful to have him in my reading group as well because I can better understand how he interacts with others, and I can talk to others about how they interact with him. For example, after one incident where he accidentally offended others in our group, I talked with the rest of the group about how to be respectful when giving feedback to this student. We talked about how it’s important to try to understand other people’s perspective, and the importance of saying how what was said makes them feel. Sessions at Rogers impact students academically, but also in gaining relationship skills, and I look forward to seeing how my students continue to grow throughout the rest of the school year!
Written by Caleb Kleman, City Year Milwaukee AmeriCorps Member
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