City Year Celebrates Successful Pilot at Oak Ridge High
A City Year Corp member works with an Oak Ridge High School student
City Year Corps members working with students at Oak Ridge High School
A City Year Corps member works on a one-and-one Oak Ridge High School student
In February, 8 Senior Corps members from around the country moved to Orlando to work with students at Oak Ridge High School as part of City Year’s pilot program in Orange County. The program was designed to test whether City Year’s techniques, developed over several years at schools in 22 other cities, would work for Orange County public schools. Corps members, ranging in age from 17 to 25, provide one-on-one tutoring for students and support services for teachers.
The verdict is a resounding yes. The close attention that Corps members provided students achieved positive results, and the program will expand in the fall to Evans High School and possibly some middle schools.
Corps member Mathew Teston, from Gulf Breeze, tutored a young student who was acting out in class and failing academically. The additional attention taught her how to better handle her anger, and the focus on her studies raised her grade in English F to C.
Bilingual Corps member Onassis Porto, from New York City, used his language skills to learn that one newcomer to the school was being teased rather than helped by his student mentor. Porto alerted the classroom teacher who deftly handled the situation without losing face.
Fidel Williams, Corps member from Chicago, explained City Year’s approach to educational service, which they call Whole School, Whole Child. “It’s the collaboration with teachers that makes City Year effective,” Williams said. They provide support for classroom teachers on everything from developing lesson plans to offering a second set of eyes to help anticipate trouble. If there’s a student that needs individual attention the Corps member provides tutoring. “Sometimes high school students can relate to and respond better to someone who’s closer to them in age,” Williams added.
City Year, a non-profit service organization, provides programs in 23 cities across the country. They ask young people aged 17-24 to “give a year, and change the world.” Orlando Executive Director Jordan Plante said, “We talked with Orange County Schools for two years before we started this pilot program. It’s exciting to see the support we’re receiving from the community. We’ve achieved enough success to expand the program next year and plan to have 50 Corps members working for the entire school year.
Oak Ridge High sees the benefit. The school improved its grade this year from failing to “C”. With a new campus under construction, and City Year’s help, Oak Ridge High is poised for even greater success.
More information on City Year can be found at its web site: www.cityyear.org