The New Year is off to a stellar start at Memphis Scholars Caldwell Guthrie Elementary School. January has brought brisk winds, cooler mornings, and the occasional stray dog wandering onto campus during power greeting but that has not hindered the hugs, high fives, and “Did you do your homework” questioning given to every student that walks into the building every day. Enthusiasm abounds on the MSCG team and you already know we wouldn’t have it any other way. This enthusiasm continues into the classroom, with team members serving in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade math, ELA, and Science/Social Studies classrooms.
Life in the classroom has seen team members flourishing, several planning on applying for a second year of service at City Year, or looking into different teaching programs in Memphis. We would not be where we are without the amazing support of our partner teachers. The teachers at MSCG have provided us a ton of experience in the classroom, support when the days become hard, and advice when planning for Life After City Year. Even non-partner teachers, especially the kindergarten and First Grade teachers have been crucial resources in our team morale. When you cannot find one of the MSCG team members one day, kindergarten is our favorite place to take a quick break from the hustle and bustle of upper elementary life.
All MSCG Corps Members do small group academic pullouts using Leveled Literacy Intervention Curriculum. These pull out groups have been active since October and almost every focus list student has progressed at least two levels from their starting level. The team has reached 900 Quality Intervention Minutes with nearly every focus list student, with no plans of stopping. The academic pullouts are one of the Corps’ favorite parts of the day because though our focus lists are on the smaller side, it was really allowed for us to see the students thrive. The relationships built in these pullouts have allowed us to see students’ confidence increase as they interact with their peers and reading material. This has also translated into eagerness to participate in the classroom. The After School Program is also seeing tremendous results this semester. After dwindling numbers before Christmas Break, MSCG has restructured the After School Program to include more academic help and cross-grade socialization and cooperation. After the homework for the day is completed, we include enriching activities, such as multiplication practice, cursive worksheets (a student favorite), and logic games, before spending the last 20-30 minutes playing basketball, board games, jump rope, and other active activities before dinner. The students involved in out After School Program (nearing 30 this semester!) have seen tremendous progress in homework completion and test scores.