October 29, 2013
Beginning this year, the Rochester AmeriCorps team, sponsored by Monroe Community College, has found a new home within the Rochester City School District. Of the 45 members serving this year, 33 are placed in schools K through 12 while the remaining members are working with community agencies directly in contact with students of RCSD.
This year, Northeast / Northwest at the Frederick Douglass Campus has a team of six AmeriCorps members placed at the school on a full time basis. The members spend their days working with the students in small group tutoring sessions, enhancing school culture and community, and, when they are not taking part in Extended Learning Time, assisting in developing the new Career and College Prep Center located within the school.
What started as an empty room with a stack of chairs and a chalkboard, has transformed in the last four weeks into the College and Career Prep Center. The walls are covered with promotional materials from schools located from New Orleans to Rochester, with populations from 500 to 50,000 students. Students can set up appointments to work on the college search process, applications, financial aid, and attend visits from college admissions officers. In addition, the center also helps students search and apply for part-time jobs.
No longer does the process of getting ready for college start in high school. According to the ACT, college readiness needs to begin in middle school, which makes the Douglass Campus a prime location for a College and Career Prep Center. In a 7-12 building the AmeriCorps team has access to middle school students, and can plant the idea of college in this impressionable age group. With high hopes, the students can come to the center and see the opportunities ahead of them, as well as observing high school students working through the admissions process.
The AmeriCorps members at the Douglass Campus are passionate about the Rochester community and hope, through focusing on college and career readiness, to make a lasting impression on the future leaders of this community.
(Co-written by AmeriCorp member Elizabeth Appel who holds a degree in Social Studies Education from Michigan State University and is now loving life in Rochester.)