99 Options: Rallying around Perfect Attendance!

The Chicago White Sox Charities Team serving at Tilden Career Community Academy hosted the “Tilden Choice Awards” Attendance Rally to kick off second semester! Attendance rallies are great ways to reiterate to students about the importance of being on time, and to remind them of City Year’s attendance initiatives! Continue reading


Chicago Bulls support youth education and City Year on the court!


On Tuesday, December 10, 2013, City Year Chicago Executive Director Lisa Morrison Butler and Chicago corps member Michael Sugihara received a check from the Chicago Bulls Community Assist Fund.

The Chicago Bulls Community Assist Fund, a fund of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, is committed to helping underserved Chicago at risk youth by funding nonprofit organizations in Chicago.


Grants are provided through the Community Assist Fund to nonprofit organizations with programs focused on: Youth Education and Health and Wellness.
This was City Year’s first year receiving a grant – $25,000.

Finding Innovative Ways to Put Students First!

Blog post by Holly Brennan, Team Leader at Tilden Career Academy

Impactful tutoring and whole-class support are ways that corps members collaborate with their partner teachers to ensure that students are receiving the best help possible.


At City Year Chicago, we practice “Students First, Collaboration Always”, one of our organizations core values, by utilizing our four Impact Coaches. The Impact coach’s singular focus is on a corps member’s performance in the classroom.

Our coaches are experienced teachers who work through Learning and Development Days and Classroom Observation to train corps members on specific strategies for impact in the classroom.  Coaches observe and evaluate corps member tutoring and classroom management in the actual classroom, provide real time coaching tips to corps members in the class or in a brief ‘hallway huddle ’ and share their findings within City Year to help improve corps members’ in class service.

Our coaches not only give corps members the tools to succeed in the classroom, they do it with a positive attitude.  Maurice Richards, a corps member at Gage Park High School said, “My coach Willie’s unlimited energy gets me ramped up for service, and I get to transfer that energy to my students. It always helps me make better happen.”

2012-2013 School Year Impact Results

In 2012-2013, City Year Chicago served 1,932 focus list students in 20 schools on the south and west sides of the city.  With focused interventions targeted to improve student attendance, behavior and course performance, corps members were able to make measurable impacts with the students they served.

Here are the results*!


*2013 Goals:
Attendance: 50% of focus list students show improvement in average daily attendance from fall until spring.

Behavior: 50% of focus list students demonstrate improvement from fall until spring.

Course Performance: 40% of focus list students improve grades from a “D” or “F” to a “C” or higher between the  beginning of the school year to final grade.

Part 2: HEY CITY YEAR! What was the best part of your first week in Chicago Schools?

We received so many great responses to our survey question, that we are adding an additional blog entry to include them all! Thank you for reading and contributing!

City Year Chicago's Tilden Team show off their clipboards in their City Year room as they prepare to serve their students!

City Year Chicago’s Tilden Team show off their clipboards in their City Year room as they prepare to serve their students!

“The week before school started, Tilden corps members really got to know the school more. The teachers, admin, security staff, and layout and culture of the school became more familiar everyday. The best part of the first week of school was seeing students thrown into that mix. City Year jumped right in. With small classes, name games, and lots of introductions, our morning chants of, “Hey! It’s You!” quickly became “Hey! It’s Charles! I’m so happy to see you today!” Tilden feels like home again with its wonderful faculty and staff, but it’s nothing without the students! Getting to know them gave my team a sneak preview of the relationships they’ll be building all year, and it was great!” –Holly Brennan, Team Leader at Tilden High School in the Back of the Yards Community.

“The best part of my first week of working at Lewis really was meeting my students. Already I’ve been able to help them in small ways, and that strong start of our relationship will propel my future work with them far.” –Natalie Moss, serving at the Lewis School of Excellence in the Austin Community.

“My first week at Sherman with the students was very eye opening.   At first, I felt hesitant to step in so that I could give my teacher the authority she needed to appear to have.  As the day continued though, my teacher, my other team corps member and I had found a groove to get the students to focus.  I enjoy seeing the interactions with the students and the teacher.  I may get home later than I want because of the long commute, but I can come home and chat about my kids and my day positively with my boyfriend and look forward to another day and another week.  I look forward to continuing to work with my teacher, my team and the students at Sherman School of Excellence.”  –Kevin Pitts, serving at the Sherman School of Excellence in the Back of the Yards community.

“The best part of my first week of school was meeting the children that I would be working with on a daily basis. Already I can see some if the challenges and potential from the students at Marquette. I’m really excited about this year and grateful for the support and family I have in Team Marquette and in City Year Chicago.” Jemina Lyle, serving at the Marquette School of Excellence in the Chicago Lawn Community.

“The best part from my first week at Dulles School of Excellence was the open arms we received from the staff and community.  It was amazing to see and hear the students recognize City Year and be excited that we were back for another year.” –Ruby Nuñez, serving at the Dulles School of Excellence in the Greater Grand Crossing Community.

“It was both expected and unexpected. My school is a first year turnaround so it was challenging. However, my students (5th graders) have tremendous potential. Almost all of them love to participate in class which motivates me to work even harder. I know this will be a challenging but rewarding year.” —Areli Lopez, serving at the Lewis School of Excellence in the Austin Community.

HEY CITY YEAR! What was the best part of your first week in Chicago Schools?


This week we asked the new City Year Chicago corps the question, “What was the best part of your first week in your new partner school?” We received a variety of responses. Read how some of the 2013-2014 corps responded to their first week in schools!

“… Getting to know the staff and some of the students I will be working with was the best part of my first week at Kelvyn Park. I started to build the foundation for the positive relationships needed for this to be a successful year.” –Ben Rubin, serving at Kelvyn Park High School in the Hermosa Community

“The best part of my 1st week in our partner school was seeing corps members in classrooms building relationships with students.” –Genesis Jelkes , Team Leader at Collins Academy in the North Lawndale Community.

“The best part of my week so far has been creating and performing power greetings for the school! Sometimes students would join in and power greet along with us in the mornings. It has been so much fun and very rewarding when students decide join in with the greetings!” –Val Dennis, serving at Chicago Vocational Career Academy in the Avalon Park Community.

“The best part of my first week in my new partner school was finally seeing all the students!” –Victoria Brasher, serving at Gage Park High School in the Gage Park Community.

“Before even going into the school, I knew the best part about going to the school for the first week would be seeing the kids. In an exercise at the end of the day, the students went around the room and told us what super power they would want and why. After hearing kids say, ‘Read minds!’ ‘Fly!’ or ‘Finish all my homework in 60 seconds’ one of the last students, a boy a saw already struggling to stay on task quietly responded, ‘To be smart so I can pass all my tests and get an A.’“ –Pauline Lazzeretti, serving at Herzl School of Excellence in the North Lawndale Community.

“The best part of my week was finally meeting my kids and being able to build a relationship with some in only the first week.” –Courtney Riley serving at Howe School of Excellence in the Austin Community.

“The best part of my first week would have to be seeing the diverse groups of students. The 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have A Dream’ speech was celebrated on August 28, 2013 and seeing the results of such powerful words is very overwhelming.” –Treyvon Green, serving at Marquette School of Excellence in the Chicago Lawn Community.

“My first week in school was fantastic. I love my 5th graders! The best part of my first week in my new partner school was getting to know the staff and my lovely students. We were only there for 3 days and already I have a bond with many of my students. It feels amazing! A lot of my students are so excited about City Year and having me as their corps member and I think it is an honor to provide students in my city with the guidance that they all need.” –Daylin Miller, serving at Howe School of Excellence in the Austin Community.

Ubuntu: The Relationship Between Corps Members & Students


Corps member Vinova Koray describes a special Ubuntu story and connection she made with one of her students.

The first time I met James* was the first day in their sixth grade Social Justice and Writing class when my teacher leaned over and whispered, “Watch out for that one.” I didn’t know then that he’d be the reason behind my biggest headaches and my widest smiles, but I figured it out quickly. Continue reading