Citizen Schools was founded in 1995 by Eric Schwarz and Ned Rimer with the mission of “educating children, strengthening communities.” Eric and Ned taught Citizen Schools’ first apprenticeships at one Boston, Massachusetts school, working with small groups of fifth graders to deliver first aid and publish a community newspaper. For two decades, Citizen Schools has expanded, refined, and evaluated its program, while remaining true to the essential belief that citizens can transform the lives of young people by sharing what they know and love.
In 2017-18, Citizen Schools enrolls more than 3,000 students in grades 5-8 in 20 expanded day apprenticeship programs, each based at a school site. We operate in four states: California, Massachusetts, New York, and North Carolina. In partnership with high-need urban districts and schools, Citizen Schools’ expanded day programs deliver a proven combination of hands-on, career-oriented apprenticeships led by volunteers; targeted academic support; and college and career readiness programming in order to equip students with the skills, motivation, and community connections that drive long-term success. Our AmeriCorps Teaching Fellows support volunteer Citizen Teachers from the community to provide real world, project-based learning opportunities that:
- Develop students’ academic, 21st-century, and social-emotional learning skills
- Increase students’ access to mentors, professional networks, and career pathways, particularly Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) pathways
- Empower students to make choices about their education and believe in their own ability to succeed
The majority of Citizen Schools' AmeriCorps Teaching Fellows express interest in staying in the field of K-12 education upon completion of the Fellowship. Citizen Schools currently operates teacher residency partnerships in two of its regions (California and Massachusetts) to provide Fellows with the opportunity to earn teaching licensure during their two-year Teaching Fellowship experience.
In addition to the programs we operate directly, Citizen Schools engages companies, education nonprofits, and communities in building a national STEM mentoring movement through its US2020 initiative.