Jaclyn Lersch is a 5th grade teacher at Compton Avenue Elementary. This is her first year teaching in LAUSD and working with City Year.
How would you describe the typical City Year AmeriCorps member? Energetic, always looking for the positive way to handle situations, always saying ‘yes’ and always working really, really hard.
How does having a corps member in a student's life make a difference? It makes a huge difference! As a teacher you wish you could give one-on-one attention to all of your students,
but it’s just not possible. By having City Year, we give students the opportunity to get that extensive help and one-on-one mentoring.
How do corps members partner with parents? [City Year AmeriCorps member] Ms. Cruz sits in on all my Spanish-speaking parent conferences to help translate. The parents know her. Several of the parents see us as a team and they trust both of us equally. Ms. Cruz is a big part of the students’ experience. She is with the students on a daily basis through small group interactions and the parents know about that extra help. There have been situations where students have been struggling and parents have asked for help. Ms. Cruz has talked to parents and enrolled students in City Year’s after-school program.
Why is City Year's work important? City Year’s work is necessary because our school is located in such a high-need area. When you have a classroom like mine – 28 students and two-thirds of them are reading below grade level – it’s necessary to have more than one teacher to help and to have another adult in the classroom through the majority of the day. I can’t imagine what it would be like without it!
And for fun…
What is your favorite uniform part? You all get so many uniform parts! If I had to pick, it would be the yellow fleece vest! I want one!