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New year starts with mentor program at Inglewood schools

INGLEWOOD — The Inglewood Unified School District is partnering with City Year Los Angeles to improve student achievement during the just-started 2019-20 school year by implementing student success coaches at Crozier Middle School and Woolworth-Monroe School.

The partnership to boost student academic and social support with City Year AmeriCorps team members kicked off with new mentors greeting students with high fives Aug. 19, the first day of school.

“What we hope to do is support all students with improving their education but also supporting their social and emotional needs,” said Luz Maria Castellanos, City Year Los Angeles managing director of communications. “Our City Year AmeriCorps members, we call them near peers, what they are is a little bit younger than the teacher but a little bit older than the students, so they are like an additional friend, an adult friend who can help them navigate those difficult challenges that they might be find in school.”

City Year Los Angeles is an education nonprofit that works with more than 30 public schools across Los Angeles County to help keep students in school and on track to graduate.

Castellanos said between 8 to 13 team members will serve as full-time math and English tutors, mentors and role models at both Crozier Middle School and Woolworth-Monroe before, during and after the school day, constantly bonding with students.

“From when the first bell rings, until the last student leaves the school,” Castellanos said.

City Year also will oversee an after-school study program for all students, whether they need tutoring or extra academic support.

The program’s support system revolves around the Whole School Whole Child; approach, in which City Year AmeriCorps members support students’ academic and social-emotional needs by tutoring students one-on-one, serving as an additional resource for teachers inside the classroom and leading after-school programs and school wide initiatives to improve overall school culture.

City Year leaders said the program is rooted in creating and cultivating a true sense of belonging for elementary and middle school students. 

“We are proud to be partnering with Inglewood Unified to provide more students across L.A. County with the added support they need to reach their full potential,” said Mary Jane Stevenson, City Year Los Angeles executive director. “We look forward to working with our partner teachers and administrators to help them meet their goals and provide the human capital needed to make a difference so students can thrive in school and in life.”

The Inglewood district hopes to ultimately expand the partnership to include more schools.

“We are excited to be partnering with City Year and their incredible team to give our students a convenient and no-cost tutoring service, to give our teachers some additional support in the classroom and to ensure that we are doing everything we can to help our students achieve their academic goals,” said outgoing Inglewood Unified State Administrator Thelma Meléndez de Santa Ana.

By John W. Davis

Contributing Writer