My name is Julian Saavedra and I am the 8th grade Social Studies teacher at KIPP Academy Lynn in Lynn, MA. I am writing in reference to my students’ involvement in the wonderful Generation Citizen program. GC has been a wonderful addition to our students’ experience. The Democracy Coaches, the curriculum , and the mission all fit perfectly within the spectrum of our own KIPP expectations. I am so glad that we have begun a partnership, and I look forward to expanding and continuing it for a long time.
When I was presented with the opportunity to work with Generation Citizen, I was a little skeptical to say the least. I knew that the program was targeting high school students. After weighing the options, I looked more into the program’s previous accomplishments and decided that this would be a great fit for our 8th grade students. We emphasize the “to and through” college model here at KIPP, and I couldn’t pass up the chance to have our students interact and work with a group of dedicated and service oriented volunteer college students. They have been so good with the kids. Sometimes I forget that they aren’t teachers because their transition has been almost effortless. They all have put in a ton of work, and it shows in their interactions with the students. It has been a valuable experience for our kids to meet their future selves.
No matter how much we say as teachers, there is no greater way to educate than through experience.
The GC curriculum is also very much aligned with our 8th grade Social Studies curriculum. The focus on action lends itself nicely to a smooth collaboration with the historical content that is being learned in class. At times the curriculum can be challenging, but that is exactly what are students need to become successful. I find anecdotal evidence of student learning all the time. From a student mentioning grassroots campaigning to a group of kids organizing to form a protest in honor of Trayvon Martin; our students are learning from GC.
I also love the fact that the mission of GC is evident in every encounter that a program member has with our students. Everyone has been very professional, reflective, and ready to take on various challenges. I am very satisfied with the experience that has been provided for our kids. I hope that GC continues to expand to other 8thgrade classrooms, as this is a much needed program across the state. I would maybe suggest reexamining some of the content to better fit 8th grader’s ability levels, but I wholeheartedly recommend this program.
Thank you Generation Citizen for provided a necessary venue for our students to expand their horizons.