After I graduated from the University of Southern California, I spent my first year of service with City Year (corps year 2011-2012) at Markham Middle School in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles. I served on a team with 15 other inspiring 18-24-year-old young adults from all over the country.
I worked in a 6th grade English intervention class (technically “ESL”, but my students were on the cusp of testing out of ESL). Most of my students learned English as a second language when they were 5-years-old, but many were unfortunately at third grade reading levels. This first year of service prepared me for the Peace Corps and was a life-changing experience I’ll never forget.
Click here to access the archive of my weekly City Year blog posts on Liz in Service.
Are you a soon-to-be college graduate wanting to make a difference in urban schools, but don’t know what program is right for you? I encourage you to read this article about why a Teach for America corps member thinks you should join City Year.
About City Year
At City Year’s 21 locations across the United States, teams of diverse young people called corps members serve full-time in schools for 10 months working to improve student attendance, behavior and course performance in English and math.
As tutors, mentors and role models, corps members are uniquely able to help students and schools succeed through:
Academic Support: Provide one-on-one or small group tutoring before, during and after school
Attendance and Positive Behavior Encouragement: Lead energetic morning greetings, make attendance and positive phone calls home and lead mentor groups
Community and School Improvements: Organize and lead activities, celebrations and projects to improve the community and school environment which includes performing physical service such as: painting murals, planting community gardens, renovating schools and refurbishing community centers.
About Markham Middle School
Neighborhood: Watts, CA; Los Angeles Unified School District, Local District 7
Students enrolled: 1,223
Academic Performance Index score: 585 (2010-2011), 564 (2009-2010)
Student demographics: 27% African-American, 73% Latino; 100% economically disadvantaged
Students scoring “proficient” or “advanced” on California state standardized tests: 19% English, 15% Math
Graduation rate of feeder high school Jordan High: 34%
Highest level of education students plan to complete: 21% high school, 10% 2-year college, 24% 4-year college, 20% graduate school, 1% vocational school, 23% unsure of plans
2011 statistics — all other statistics can be found on Markham Middle School’s LAUSD School Report Card