Staples awards Citizen Schools $50,000August 30, 2011 by Sally Farhat Kassab
Citizen Schools, a Skoll Awardee that partners with middle schools to expand the learning day for low-income students, announced today it has received an investment of $50,000 from Staples, Inc. to help fund Citizen Schools’ apprenticeships in Massachusetts. The program works with 600 volunteers to teach students one afternoon each week at middle schools in Boston, New Bedford, and Revere. Since 2006, Staples has given nearly $70,000 in support to Citizens Schools’ programs.
Volunteers, called “Citizen Teachers,” will instruct 10-week “apprenticeships” where students will work side-by-side with experts, exploring new professions, learning new skills, and creating something for their community. At the end of the 10-week apprenticeship, students participate in a “WOW!” event, named after the reaction most adults have after seeing students work, which gives youth a chance to turn the tables, become the experts, and teach adults all they have learned.
“Our apprenticeships help infuse relevance in the school day, spark new interests, and stir motivation for our students,” said Pat Kirby, executive director of Citizen Schools Massachusetts. “Through its investment, Staples is helping to make it easy for Citizen Schools to recruit, train, and inspire the best volunteers to work with our students.”
Through Citizen Schools’ apprenticeship program, hands-on projects show students the math in cooking, the science in recycling, and the discipline to rehearsing a dance routine. Independent studies show that apprenticeships have outstanding results for students, including higher grades, increased attendance, and an elevated graduation rate in comparison with their peers.