I am a teacher of a “Community Action” class in Concord High School, an alternative high school on Staten Island. This semester is the second semester in which I have worked with Generation Citizen. This testimonial will try to give you some idea about what it is like working with Generation Citizen.
What I find most striking about working with GC is its dynamic quality. This dynamic quality expresses itself through how GC interacts with their Democracy Coaches and teachers. They do not just hand a curriculum to their Democracy Coaches and teachers and expect them to teach the curriculum, as I have seen other organizations do. GC is in frequent contact with their Democracy Coaches, not just training them to teach a curriculum, but supporting them based on what is happening in the classroom. GC actively looks for feedback, from their Democracy Coaches, and the teachers, on how the class is progressing, and responds accordingly. They offer advice how to proceed, as well as ask advice from teachers in the program. This process of valuing feedback helps them fine tune their approach “on the fly,” tailoring the curriculum to meet the needs of individual classes and constantly improving their overall program.
Another aspect that I find striking is their ability to select great Democracy Coaches. Both Democracy Coaches that joined my classes were excellent. Both Democracy Coaches had previous experience working with students and cared about empowering students to respond to community issues. They were both bright and both believed in the mission of Generation Citizen. And most interestingly, and by design, the Democracy Coaches in their program are young, to which most students in class positively respond. The Democracy Coaches, who go to college, have also served as liaisons between their college and my school, inviting relevant guest speakers to the class, which has proved to be great motivators for students.
From my experience, I can strongly recommend bringing Generation Citizen to your school. Too often we hear how schools should prepare our students for jobs in our technologically advanced world, which is, of course, important. But students are more than just future workers.