Mr. Robert Ernes has been teaching at Nava College Preparatory Academy (NCPA) for 2 years and initially started with the Los Angeles school district in 1985. He has been teaching a variety of math classes and this will be his final year of teaching. This is City Year's first year at NCPA.

Q: What impact have you witnessed our City Year team have at NCPA?

A: Well, I think it's the individual attention you all give to specific students. Also the fact that you guys are a whole bunch younger helps--there's a closer tie.

Q: How does having a City Year mentor in a student's life make a difference?

A: You guys may have grown up from different backgrounds from these kids, but age really is the key. The accessibility that I see and the successes I've observed has been great. Their small-group setting lets them truly focus on the students, while teachers have 200 students.

Q: How do teachers and City Year Americorps members collaborate in the classroom?

A: We do every day with all of you guys. We tailor the instruction together to the help the progress that we're making, or we reinforce what we have done in a successful way.

Q: What is your favorite thing about City Year?

A: Having more adults in the room. With this group of students, the more adults we have, the better. We can break up into smaller groups that are more beneficial for the kids.

Q: How does having City Year on the school campus affect the school environment?.

A: City Year members are safe adults that students know they can go to for academic help,  personal advice, or anything really. If you ask any kid in this group setting, “Do you know this?” the student will say yes. They're reluctant to admit that they don't know something unless they're one-on-one with a City Year member. [AmeriCorps member] Hallie, with some of these kids who need the most help, is so so patient. She really is good with them.

Follow the Nava College Prep Academy team (@cyla_navasquad) on Instagram!

If you enjoyed this story please check out:

"Rapped" in Love: Connecting with Students through Music

A personal reflection project created by Raul Cabral, AmeriCorps member serving at ew Open World Academy. 

Ms. Lisle: "City Year creates a nurturing atmosphere."

Helena Lisle is a first-year partner teacher at Carver Middle School in South L.A.



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