D161 discusses City Year partnership

At the May 20 Flossmoor District 161 Board of Education meeting, Amabel Crawford, the Director of Learning and Instruction, introduced a potential partnership with City Year AmeriCorps. 

After many successes working with students in Chicago, City Year is expanding to selected sites in the suburbs. With board approval, Parker Junior High School could be a pilot site during the 2024-25 school year. 

The City Year program aims to enhance student success during and after the school day. If the partnership is approved, eight young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 will mentor students at Parker Junior High. 

Crawford said. “They participate in everything at the school. They’re there all day from sunup to sundown, and they are there the entire school year.”

The City Year program would cost the district $130,000 for the 2024-25 school year. This expense would be funded through a combination of Title I and remaining ESSER III funds. 

The City Year model is designed to offer students one-on-one and small-group social-emotional support, after-school tutoring, attendance monitoring, and various school-wide activities. If the board votes to approve the program, a team of AmeriCorps members will work closely with teachers to enhance the learning experience and provide additional support to students identified through Behavior, Attendance and Grade reports, or BAGs.

“Dr. [LaCael] Palmer-Pratt, who is one of our District 161 parents and a managing director with City Year, brought this to us,” said Superintendent Dana Smith. “Without having the understanding of where we stand because of our BAG reports, it’d be really hard to jump at an opportunity like this.”

Each Corps member would be assigned a caseload of about 20 students. They also would be assigned to classrooms with experienced teachers and support their caseload by offering daily check-ins, homework assistance, and additional support. 

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