City of Lakes AmeriCorps members serve in middle schools throughout the Minneapolis Public Schools district providing academic support and after school enrichment opportunities for Long-Term English Learners. Our members engage and empower students in their English language development through intentional interactions, research-based strategies, and youth development best practices. Our ability to support the academic and developmental needs of our students depends upon the one-on-one relationships members build with their students and is at the heart of all that we do.
Our members gain unparalleled hands-on experience working with students, teachers, families, and fellow corps members. They serve as a cohort of emerging leaders who focus on developing their professional and interpersonal skills while exploring the fields of education and youth development within the context of a large urban school system.
• Serve in a Minneapolis public middle school to provide a caseload of 10 Long-Term English Learner students with daily academic English tutoring. Tutors work within a stand-alone City of Lakes English Language Development class led by a licensed teacher providing small group and 1:1 instruction or support as well as in-class academic coaching within content classes (Social Studies, Science, English Language Arts, etc.).
• Develop and lead daily after school enrichment classes focused on hands-on learning and social-emotional development.
• Reinforce the home-school connection through regular communication with families.
• Collaborate closely with ELL and content teachers to provide students with differentiated instructional support and assess students academic progress.
• Become familiar with and utilize available technology to reinforce academic skills and increase student engagement.
• Participate in the member professional development program (2-3 Fridays per month) to learn best practices in tutoring and academic coaching, explore larger topics related to education, and reflect on the individual and cohort service experience.
Community Need Addressed
City of Lakes AmeriCorps focuses on the specific language needs of middle school Long-Term English Learners (LTELs).
Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) defines LTELs as students with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) status for 5 or more years. As a group, LTELs are at a significant educational risk and are "stuck" at intermediate levels of English proficiency or below. Many have developed habits of non-engagement, passivity and invisibility in school.
MPS has a significant concentration of English Learners (ELs). Approximately 25% of MPS students enrolled in grades 6-8 are ELs and, of those, 75% are LTELs. On average, LTELs tend to have lower grades, lower standardized test scores, and face a higher risk of dropping out of school than non-LTELs.
Middle school ELs are already doing "double the work" trying to understand academic content at the same time they are learning academic English. At the middle school level, academic language transitions from supporting concrete thoughts, such as descriptions, to abstract critical thinking skills, such as interpretations. In addition, the recent introduction of Common Core State Standards raises the bar even higher; they demand that a focus on high-level, complex language in speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Research has shown that English proficiency is a strong predictor of graduation rates, so Middle school is the optimal time to address language deficiencies for LTELs because by the time they get to high school, it is often too late.
The Minneapolis Public Schools' City of Lakes AmeriCorps program will train and support 30 full time AmeriCorps members who will provide evidence-informed tutoring, enrichment, and parent engagement to 180 Long-Term English Learners in grades 6-8 to accelerate students' academic language skills. Each member will be responsible for a caseload of 10 students and will work with them over the course of the entire school year.
Additionally, 80% of LTELs completing the program will demonstrate increased academic engagement and motivation as evidenced by school attendance records or by the MPS Student Engagement Survey.
Childcare assistance if eligible, Education award upon successful completion of service, Health coverage, Living allowance, Student loan forbearance, Training
Ongoing professional development focused on transferable skills essential to both the public and private sector.
Skills you will gain
Teaching and Instructional Strategies, Professional Communication and Collaboration Skills, Leadership Experience, Best Practices in Youth Development, Caseload Management Skills, Community Engagement Experience
Competencies You Will Develop
Demonstrate sensitivity and empathy, Lead group discussion, Listen to and consider others' viewpoints, Maintain open lines of communication with others, Speak clearly, in precise language and in a logical, organized and coherent manner, Turn taking, Write cleary and effectively
Creativity & Problem Solving
Able to identify and define the problem, Capable of generating possible solutions, Communicate the problem to appropriate personnel, Improvise, Provide relevant expertise, Select and implement well-considered solution
Develop constructive working relationships and maintain them over time, Establish a high degree of trust and credibility with others, Interact professionally and respectfully with supervisors and co-workers, Stay positive and outcome oriented, Use appropriate strategies and solutions for dealing with conflicts and differences to maintain a smooth workflow
Accepts responsibility, Anticipate the consequences of decisions, Identify and prioritize the key issues involved to facilitate the decision making process, Involve people appropriately in decisions that may impact them, Quickly respond with a back-up plan if a decision goes amiss
Consistently choose the best tool or technological solution for the problem at hand, Seek opportunities to improve knowledge of tools and technologies that may assist in streamlining work and improving productivity
Able to prioritize various competing tasks, Create environment of contribution, Create plan of action, schedule tasks so that work is completed on time, Demonstrate the effective allocation of time and resources efficiently, Set goals
Be pleasant, courteous, professional and respectful when dealing with internal and external customers or clients, Evaluate customer or client satisfaction, Honor the privilege of being able to work with and for those being served, Provide personalized, prompt, and efficient service to meet the requirements, requests and needs of customers, Recognize the importance of maintaining privacy and confidentiality of those being served, Understand and anticipate the needs of others, Understand the importance of one's role in the functioning of the organization, Understand the significance of maintaining a healthful and safe environment