HELLO AND HAPPY MARCH!

Hopefully this month we'll be saying good-bye to winter and hello to spring!  Corps members are hitting their stride with service, and getting ready to host their spring Family Engagement Nights and support spring initiatives at the schools.  If you've ever wondered what a day is like in the life of a City Year corps member check out these blogs from Bakersville and McDonough


CITY YEAR NEW HAMPSHIRE UPDATES

CAMP CITY YEAR RECAP

2017 Camp City Year was a blast and an overall success. We had a total of 155 students attend the East and West side camps. Campers got to # CYWeExplore and travel around the world visiting different biomes. On day one, campers got to go to the Rainforest and make their own rain sticks. Day two was a trip to the Savanna where students got to take a "Safari" and learn about the different animals that live there. Next we traveled to the Arctic and played a fun obstacle course game that taught the campers about the March of the Penguins. Finally we came home to the Temperate Forest and learned about consumers and producers in the food chain.  Find out more about the week in a corps member blog here.

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COMMUNITY MEETINGS - WHAT THEY ARE AND WHAT THEY DO

From time to time, you might hear the City Year team referring to a Community Meeting or see them highlighted in this newsletter as different teams host and highlight them.  Community Meetings are a rich part of the City Year culture – they in fact, are monthly expressions and reminders of our organization’s founding stories and values.  Each month, at a gathering of all corps and staff hosted by one of the City Year teams, we have opportunities to share, reflect, appreciate and celebrate our dedication to service, our impact in Manchester, and our effort to build a more beloved community.  Whether it is through the Bakersville team’s theme of the Giving Tree to help us reflect on service, the Northwest team's theme of gratitude to send us off on our Thanksgiving break, or the McDonough team's theme of traditions and authentic appreciation, each Community Meeting is a treasured part of our City Year experience.


WHOLE SCHOOL WHOLE CHILD

SCHOOL PARTNERSHIP BEST PRACTICES - MCDONOUGH AND PARKER-VARNEY

There are a lot of best practices happening across our school partnerships, specifically in regards to how City Year works with instructional partners and utilizes new learning to more effectively train our corps members. This collaboration results in a stronger implementation structure at City Year and ultimately a better support for the students we work to support together. This month we highlight work at McDonough and Parker-Varney between the school and City Year team.

McDonough Impact Manager, Josh Rose, works closely with the Math coach, Elisabeth Hood, specifically focusing on improving math interventions that corps members provide to students. They meet on a monthly basis with the corps members in order to promote greater effectiveness in their intervention sessions. Elisabeth Hood offers the team critical insight on how to best fill the gap in understanding that many of our students demonstrate. Josh and Ms. Hood are participating in a book study together focusing on the importance of building a culture of mathematical fluency and a love for mathematics learning throughout the school, all in the name of supporting the students at McDonough! Their current project is in producing streamlined avenues in which corps member can assess student progress in learning mathematics and directly report their findings back to their partner teacher for further collaboration and problem solving. 

Parker-Varney Impact Manager, Chris Potter, works closely with Principal Amy Allen to coordinate City Year's interventions with the school's innovative instructional model, which emphasizes targeted, small group instruction. By sharing data and establishing strong communication between PV teachers and City Year, AmeriCorps Members can give students lessons with the exact learning objectives they need to get back on grade level. As a result of our collaborative effort, the third grade has seen its rate of on track readers increase from 28% to 78% over this school year.

TRAINING HIGHLIGHT - GROWTH MINDSET FOR MENTORS

Corps members will be participating in a Growth Mindset for Mentors pilot throughout the month of March. They will explore the concept of growth mindset, how mentors can support this mindset in students, how to incorporate growth mindset language, and will learn how to reframe challenges, failures and mistakes. Corps members will be able to take their new awareness and help the students they support develop a growth mindset within themselves.

This pilot is a collaborative effort between MENTOR, PERTS (Project for Education Research That Scales/Stanford) and City Year, commissioned by the US Department of Education, to design and test Growth Mindset Resources for mentors around the country. City Year New Hampshire is one of 11 City Year sites participating in the pilot.


AMERICORPS MEMBER SPOTLIGHT


Each month, get to know an AmeriCorps member from our City Year team on a more personal level.

FY17OD_Sarah.jpgSarah Wheeler, 3rd Grade with Ms. Melissa Bell

I serve to continue the ripple.

My name is Sarah Wheeler. I was born in Oranjestad, Aruba and moved to Bedford, NH at age three. I was far too eager to wait for school in the states so I enrolled very young. Difficulties started to arise for me in elementary school and snowballed through middle school and into high school. I finally decided that school wasn't something I was capable of and I dropped out at age 15. Two years later, I was determined to try again. After being bounced around schools that tried to accommodate my needs, I managed to finish four years worth of high school credits in three years with honors. I just graduated at the wonderful and gracious Parker Academy in Concord, NH. My experiences helped me understand how education is the most powerful weapon we have. Education is the start to all change; the reason for all hope.

My biggest joys in service have been in the little things. The original intention of my nonsenses with students was to make them smile or make it easier to shrug off their mishaps. My silly reactions to their mishaps become the butt of the joke instead of them. What I found is they received it in a completely different way. They will repeat these phrases back to me daily in everyday conversation. "I'm proud of you, Miss Wheeler." "I knew you could do it, Miss Wheeler." These are words that I feel should be heard always, and I never realized their importance until my students liberated me with them. I hope it did the same for them. There isn't an ounce of me that doesn't believe the words I tell them.

I feel my progress in productivity, self-confidence, leadership skills, and accountability have grown exponentially. I can't think of a part of me that City Year hasn't touched and turned to gold. There's still so much to learn. I look forward to serving every day.
TEAM AND PARTNERSHIP HIGHLIGHTS

The City Year team had a busy month – here are some highlights:

  • Following the success of their Black History Month efforts, the Beech Street Team is now celebrating Women’s History Month! Starting with their bulletin board, the team is highlighting women of all backgrounds throughout history. Corps members have been bringing their ELA groups to the board to find women they connect with through their quotes and accomplishments. Once back in the classroom, students continue to work on their nonfiction writing skills by completing further research on these women. Our 3rd-5th grade girls are now adding their own mark to the board, by coloring self-portraits and stating what they will be known for in the future.

    “I will be famous for being the first Muslim female scientist to win the Nobel Peace Prize. It doesn’t matter about the gender, it matters about their thoughts” - Beech Street 4th Grader

  • The team is gearing up for their Intergalactic Math Night on March 29th! The behind-the-scenes prep begins with each corps member choosing a math topic, followed by scaffolding the activities for different ability levels and deciding how to best engage the entire family. Next is tying in their “Space” theme, and making sure our decorations transport students from their classrooms into the next galaxy.

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The City Year Beech Street team enjoying each other's company on their team day!



APPRECIATION AND GRATITUDE
 
The Beech Street Team would like to appreciate Norma Gonzalez, our amazing 21C Afterschool Coordinator. All year, Norma has been gracious with sharing team space, supplies, and ideas with the team. She warmly greets us all each day, and is continually supportive of our efforts in FIRST and Starfish after school. She is incredibly busy, but always makes time for any staff member or student at Beech. Her genuine care for the students makes it difficult for her to turn kids away when the clubs are full, and she has set a great example to us of how to interact and engage our families. Plus, she always goes the extra mile to leave us tasty treats! We thank her for always going above and beyond at our school. 

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