Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

City Year Program Has Grown Quickly since Launch; Now 100 AmeriCorps Volunteers Are Working with Students in 10 Schools

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

City Year Program Has Grown Quickly since Launch; Now 100 AmeriCorps Volunteers Are Working with Students in 10 Schools

Article excerpt

Byline: Tessa Duvall

The principals of the Leadership Schools at Eugene J. Butler admit they were skeptical when they first learned they would lead schools with City Year AmeriCorps volunteers in the classrooms.

Both principals were new to working with City Year, and new in their roles launching Butler's Leadership Schools, the single-gender middle schools that opened in the 2014-15 school year.

"OK, here's another group I have to manage," Young Women's Leadership Academy Principal Tamara Williams said.

"I did not believe in what he was telling me City Year brought to the table," Young Men's Leadership Academy Principal Truitte Moreland said.

But by the end of the first semester, Williams and Moreland were believers.

They shared their experiences with City Year with commissioners from the Governor's Commission on Volunteerism, which met Thursday in Jacksonville.

City Year is a national organization, currently in 27 cities, that places full-time AmeriCorps volunteers in public schools in high-need communities. Corps members work with off-track students to improve their attendance, behavior and performance in English and math classes.

"This is the best thing," Moreland said. "This should be in every school."

Williams said, "but before you do that, put them in all my classes first."

City Year began in Jacksonville during the 2012-13 school year with 20 AmeriCorps members divided into two teams at Andrew Jackson High School and Matthew Gilbert Middle School.

For the 2014-15 school year, 74 City Year AmeriCorps members served 99,519 hours in Duval County Public Schools, according to a City Year report. Among the principals, administrators and academic coaches who worked with City Year, 93 percent were satisfied or very satisfied with their experiences.

It now has 100 AmeriCorps members in 10 schools.

PROGRAM GROWING TO MEET THE NEED

City Year Jacksonville Executive Director Dan Foley said he would like to see more Corps members and to expand to more schools.

"The need is always going to be there, so we grow and try to meet the community's need," he said. …

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