POSTED: Thursday, August 29, 2013 - 6:00pm
UPDATED: Thursday, August 29, 2013 - 6:04pm
BATON ROUGE, LA — This school year, nearly one million students across the country will drop out—one every 26 seconds. Today, City Year Baton Rouge, an education-focused nonprofit dedicated to addressing the dropout crisis, kicked off a year of service in East Baton Rouge Parish public schools with its Opening Day ceremony at Capitol Middle School.
In 25 cities across the country, including Baton Rouge, City Year AmeriCorps member commit a year of their lives to serve as tutors, mentors and role models to struggling students who need extra support.
Executive Director of Volunteer Louisiana, Janet Pace, East Baton Rouge Parish School System Deputy Superintendent Michael Haggen, District 5 School Board Member Evelyn Ware-Jackson and others joined Laura Hamm Executive Director of City Year Baton Rouge, and 66 City Year AmeriCorps members to kick-off the service year. During the ceremony, corps members stood in their signature red jackets and collectively took the City Year pledge.
“We’re honored to be serving in Belaire High, Broadmoor Middle, Capitol Middle, and Merrydale Elementary partnerships that would not be possible without the support of the East Baton Rouge Parish School System the local business and philanthropic community, and the parents of the students who have supported our efforts.” said Laura Hamm, Executive Director of City Year Baton Rouge.
City Year’s targeted, research-based approach allows corps members to support students who have been identified as facing the greatest risk of dropping out. This work is critical for the health of our community and country as a whole. Capitol Middle School Senior Corps Member Theresa Lodge shared the impact she made during her first year of service with Paris Terrance during the 2012-2013 school year: “with her persistence and my help, not only has she stayed out of trouble since last September, she improved from a 64% in math to a 91%. This year Paris has been invited to join the Beta Club and will run for 8th Grade class President!”
“We’re excited to kick-off another powerful year with City Year,” said School Board Member Evelyn Ware-Jackson. Not only do the corps members provide academic and developmental support to inspire kids to set high expectations and work hard to achieve their full potential but the city of Baton Rouge and the state of Louisiana also benefit from the “brain gain” of the 66 young leaders representing more than 20 states across the country. Mrs. Ware-Jackson closed out the pep rally by addressing the corps members, "What you do is so important to our kids, please stay here in Baton Rouge.” 77% of corps members from the 2012-2013 academic year continue to make Louisiana their home upon completing their year of service.
Over the next decade, City Year aims to work in the cities that account for two-thirds of the nation’s urban dropouts. Together, with its partners, City Year will continue to be part of the solution to our country’s dropout crisis—tapping into the idealism of young people to support educators and putting students on track to succeed. City Year is already seeing promising results across its 25 sites nationwide: 84 percent of students in grades 3-5 improved on literacy assessments and 46 percent of students in grades 6-9 improved their attendance (2011-2012 school year). Of students tutored by City Year Baton Rouge last year, 86% improved and 46% moved from off-track to on-track. In addition, all four schools in which City Year served last year and continues to serve this year, came off of the Louisiana Academic Unsatisfactory State list, which means they are no longer failing schools.
To learn more about City Year, visit www.cityyear.org , become a Facebook fan or follow @CityYearBR on Twitter.