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Five Ambitions Revisited

December 5, 2011

By Tiffany Montano, Corps Member Proudly Serving at Sarah T. Reed High School

The City Year team atSarahT.ReedHigh Schoolis hard at work.  Back in September, I reported on five of our ambitions for the year.  I thought I’d give you all an update on those ambitions so that you can see how we have already begun to engage students and improve the school community as a whole.

Joining the 12 Book Challenge – The students at STRHS have been challenged to read 12 books of at least 100 pages by December.  In an act of solidarity with the students, as well as wondering if we even have it in ourselves, many of us have joined.  In our classroom, we have displayed which of each team member is reading which book for the students to see.  Corps Members, Quinton Stroud and I are currently tied at seven books as of November 30, 2011.  One student, who I’ll call Jack, has already read 10!

Word of the Day –Principal Jackson has been announcing our decided word of the day and challenges the students over the intercom to submit a sentence with the correct usage of the word to our classroom.  We have changed our policy.  Instead of each student who submits one being given an Olympian Buck (which can be used to buy school supplies and snacks at the Olympian Buck Store), the student must submit a perfectly grammatically correct sentence and will receive five Olympian Bucks.  The submission rate started out low, but steadily increased as more students become aware of this program.  Now we have a fairly steady flow of students entering the City Year room to submit a sentence.  Through this process, students are learning about subject-verb agreement, proper use of punctuation, and other small oversights that are simply too abundant to all be addressed in the classroom on an individual level.

IPODs at the Olympian Buck Store – The STRHS team has reached a deal with Apple Inc to purchase 25-30 discounted IPODs to sell at the Olympian Buck Store.  Unfortunately, there was a mishap at the Apple warehouse and the IPODs are still en route.  We were hoping to have them in the Buck Store by October and we are now expecting them by January.  IPODs will most likely run for anywhere from 250-500 Olympian Bucks.

Community Garden – We noticed at the start of the year that STRHS had a neglected community garden .  Our plan was to fix up the garden and recruit student involvement in maintaining the garden.  Thanks to corps member, Kati Johnson, this project is a tremendous success!  Kati organized the team to manually till the soil to reduce greenhouse gas contributions and has already planted a series of organic seeds!  We have had significant support from the community and have received donations of soil, tools, and seeds.

WritingCenter– We are going to open a writing center at Sarah T. Reed High School in January!  The writing center was one of the winning projects at the Crazy Idea Dinner, which you can read more about here:  Students will be able to bring in academic or personal writing to have one-on-one sessions with volunteers from Tulane University as well as peer-tutors selected by teachers and administration for their excellent academic success.  We are very proud to have students working in the writing center because one of the many things that we have learned through City Year is that the best way to learn is to teach.  Program Manager, Jay Robertson, has been very supportive through the process – “We already have the go-ahead from the school; we’re just waiting for everything to come together now.” 



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