Corps Members Answer the Question: How do you know you are making a difference?

We asked our corps members to share how things were going so far and how they knew that they were making a difference in their schools and with their students. Below are some of their stories.

From PS 48
“I work with a 2nd grade student who is an English Language Learner. The student began the school year reading below a kindergarten reading level. I work with him through a literacy program we run at PS 48 called New Heights. Already, he has jumped to a first grade reading level.”

From the Team at PS/IS 50
“Last year, our school was identified as having one of the highest percentages of students who are chronically late or absent (270 Students). As a result of our team’s strategic work with our school partners including the Children’s Aid Society and City Year, the number of students identified as chronically absent this year is down to just 3. We are confident that the programs City Year has established to target lateness and attendance in our school this year have made a dramatic impact and will continue to improve the quality of the learning experience for all of our children.” Principal Rebekah Marler

From Dan Foley, Team Leader, MS 302
“This month was the first time my school has ever had over 90% student attendance! There were many words of thanks and congratulations going around the school and City Year was seen as a part of the solution.”

From Corps Member Perry Shoemaker, MS 424
“I work with a student who really does not like to read. Her reading skills are not bad (not the best in her class, but certainly better than some), the problem is interest. She has a hard time staying with one book for long. The day before Thanksgiving she saw the Harry Potter books in the school library and was curious about reading one, so I helped her check it out. The week after Thanksgiving she came up to me after class, excited – for once – about what she’d read over the weekend.”

From Stephanie Hoos, Corps Member, MS 424
“One of my 8th grade students was loud and disruptive during all of her lessons. Her teacher would plead with her to speak only if her hand was raised, and to follow directions. She would lash out and continue to scream. Other students would cover their ears and there was seemingly no way to get her to stop talking. She wouldn’t sit down and wouldn’t even look at me for the first few weeks of school.

I encouraged her to finish her class work. Once she finished, I started passing notes to her asking questions like “who is your favorite singer?” or “what is your favorite color?” or “what makes you happy?” and told her to write her answer and pass them back to me. She would remain quiet and focused, excited that I was giving her personal attention but not distracting the other children. I found myself enjoying my time with her.

Now, Samantha finishes her class work and re-checks it as fast as she can so we can pass notes back and forth. She loves to ask me questions, and I make sure that her grammar and spelling are correct all while keeping her entertained and focused after her lessons are complete.

Every time I see her, she hugs me. She’s excited to see me every day, and I can honestly say that she is one of the reasons it’s fun to come to school and work.”