Written by: City Year Corps Member Stephanie Lakritz, serving at Dr. George Washington Carver Academy of Math & Science. Her partner teacher is Ms. Cwirla, a Teach For America teacher.
One of the benefits of collaborating in Milwaukee’s schools is seeing the powerful influence teamwork can have on the scholars. This year marks the foundation of a cultural transformation at MPS’ Carver Academy. Teaming up with Teach For America and Schools that Can Milwaukee, City Year has had the privilege of working with scholars who are at risk of falling off track and dropping out of school. The collaboration between these organizations at Carver has led to more opportunities for one-on-one conversations between staff and scholars, the development of a behavior choice-management system, and an emphasis on goal setting for our scholars. The effects of this individualized attention can been seen throughout the school – especially with Anna.
Over the past several years, Anna has had notoriously low attendance. Like many of her peers, Anna has been the victim of frequent, if not chronic, bullying. As a result, she had very little motivation to attend school and this poor attendance led to negative impacts on Anna academic performance. At the beginning of the year, Anna had not attended an entire full week of school. She sat in the back of the classroom, apathetic to learning. Also, Anna struggled with following directions, and often displayed defiant behavior accompanied with frequent expletives.
Over the past few months, however, Anna has taken control of her education.
Now Anna has been at school for three consecutive weeks and counting. She has moved her desk to the front of the classroom to not miss any instruction and she is actively engaging in class throughout the day. Along with Anna’s improved attendance came a significant increase in her MAP test scores. Anna was predicted to grow two points on her MAP math test; instead, her scores increased by a whopping 13 points! Anna’s behavior has also seen a dramatic renovation. She responds positively to the rewards of the choice management system and has shown great progress in demonstrating respect to adults and her peers.
Anna is just one example of the positive outcomes resulting from the collaboration at Carver Academy. As the transformation continues, we hope to touch many more lives of our scholars and watch as the number of at-risk learners diminishes.