By Abby Cozzolino, Service Leader serving on the Parkside Middle School Team.
This year City Year New Hampshire has made its debut at its first middle school in ten years! Parkside Middle School on the west side of Manchester has welcomed twelve AmeriCorps members to their community, with ten serving in fifth-grade classrooms and two serving on a sixth/seventh-grade blended team. With the transition of all fifth graders on Manchester’s west side from the elementary schools to Parkside, City Year New Hampshire was happy to follow our students to this new setting, accompanying them every step of the way. Our new partnership is the result of a lot of hard work from the dedicated City Year New Hampshire staff, Parkside staff members, and the Manchester School District, and we’re so excited for the opportunities it has brought to better serve our students.
The benefits to both the City Year and Manchester communities have been remarkable and will continue for years to come.
Research shows that if a student reaches the tenth grade on track and on time, they’re 3x more likely to graduate from high school. Our goal at City Year is to fulfill our seven-year promise to our students by supporting them from third to tenth grade, and with our move to Parkside Middle School, we’re one step closer to doing just that in Manchester. The new partnership paves the way for more Manchester middle schools to have City Year AmeriCorps members in the years to come, and one day we plan to support our high schools as well!
My experience of being on the inaugural Parkside Middle School team has been a truly gratifying and humbling experience. Every single Parkside staff member and student has welcomed our team so warmly into their incredible community, and it has made for an amazing start to the year. This is my second year serving with City Year New Hampshire, and I was so excited to be chosen to be one of the Service Leaders at Parkside this year. I am working with a team of four astounding teachers who teach language arts, math, social studies, and science to 85 remarkable sixth- and seventh-grade students. They have all made me feel like I am an important member of the team and it’s an amazing experience to join them in the incredible work they do every day.
My favorite part about working at the middle school is getting to build relationships with students in all four grades. I get to do this specifically during my afterschool club, Cartoon Drawing Club, that I run with my co-Service Leader, Nicole Nover. There are students from the fifth through eighth grades who attend this club and it is fulfilling to see relationships form between the students, and to build relationships with them myself.
Serving in middle school, I can also see the impact that past AmeriCorps members have made on their students. Every day students ask me if I know their City Years from elementary school; it is amazing to hear their stories about how much they miss their past City Years and how much they helped them grow. This is truly a testament to the connections built between our past AmeriCorps members and their students, and I am beyond honored to follow in their footsteps by continuing to provide our students with the support they deserve.