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Sharing City Year’s innovation work

Collaborating to innovate education practices

Collaborating with partner schools and districts to design student learning experiences—based on research and our experience serving in classrooms—is an important part of City Year’s work to advance student success and educational equity.

In recent years, we have intentionally brought educators together in learning communities and are facilitating conversations with the broader education and philanthropic sectors, sharing what we are learning about what students need to thrive and how to support and supplement school improvement efforts across the country.

City Year member and students playing word games

Examples of our innovation and school design work include:

  • Compass Academy. City Year and Johns Hopkins University have collaborated to develop a competency-based learning model that integrates social-emotional and academic development with a design partner school that embraces bilingual curriculum. Compass Academy is a charter public school serving middle school students in southwest Denver.
  • Teacher residency program. As a substantial portion of City Year AmeriCorps members  go into the education sector after their year or two of service, City Year has designed, launched and is implementing a teacher residency program that focuses on whole-child development in partnership with major teacher training programs across the country.
  • Publications for educators. Recognizing the role City Year plays at the intersection of research and practice, City Year has developed a series of practitioner guides and resources for school-based staff on supporting students during COVID-19; adapting teaching and learning to a virtual environment; and integrating social-emotional skill building with academic interventions.
  • Learning networks. Through leveraging our district partnerships, we have been convening administrators and educators to learn from one another and support school improvement efforts, keeping equity at the center.

Networks for school improvement

The Network for School Improvement work at City Year focuses on learning networks for the middle grades and what it takes to support students and educators through the implementation of continuous improvement practices.

City Year leaders were selected to present at the Carnegie Foundation Summit on Improvement in Education, held virtually this year in late April. The summit provided an opportunity to share what we are learning from two of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-funded projects that are designed to bring educators together and offer them tools and support as they strive to create engaging and equitable learning environments for their students: Networks for School Improvement and a related “Action Community” initiative.

Paola Deliz Felix Encarnacion, National Network for School Improvement Leader, and Hollis McAllister, Senior Director of Network for School Improvement in Tulsa, shared their work using continuous improvement to center equity at the heart of networked improvement efforts through a model that is being used by City Year partner schools in Milwaukee and Tulsa.

Preparing for back-to-school this fall

A second session at the Summit highlighted an “Action Community” launched by City Year during the pandemic to support schools as they grapple with the challenges of engagement, recovery and return to school.

red jacket

Learn more about resources City Year has rolled out for educators during Covid-19.

As a complement to City Year’s expanding network for school improvement initiative, the Action Community focuses on the importance of engagement and belonging as schools move to bring students back to the classroom and pivot from virtual and hybrid models. The community is focused on preparing for school openings this fall after disruptions caused by the pandemic, including creating “change packages.” These free online resource for educators offer resources that support them in addressing common needs across districts.

Led by Virgil Shepherd, Senior National School Partnerships Director, and Matthew Wernsdorfer, Managing Director of Regional Impact, the Action Community session also highlighted the experience of Marcia Fulton, Executive Director of Compass Academy, an implementation partner.

Explore Resources and Publications to learn more about City Year’s impact on students and schools; the research in which our holistic approach is grounded; and our recent publications.

Learn more

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