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“Citizen Teachers” Needed for Project Exploration

Citizen Schools and Project Exploration will recruit and train 1,000 STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) professionals to share their expertise with Chicago youth. This is part of Citizen Schools’ commitment to recruit and train 15,000 volunteers, including 5,000 STEM professionals, to teach students across the country over the next three years. These volunteers – Citizen Schools calls them “Citizen Teachers” – will teach “apprenticeship” courses to small groups of low-income middle school students once a week for ten weeks. In these apprenticeships, volunteers work with students one afternoon a week to teach them about a wide variety of topics and professions from robotics to architecture. Chicago-based Project Exploration

Project Exploration Group
Project Exploration Group at Loyola in Chicago

Since 1995, Citizen Schools has recruited and trained tens of thousands of volunteers from local and national companies to teach students in seven states. This fall, the organization will launch programs in Illinois and introduce the program to middle school students in Chicago. Citizen Schools will work with Project Exploration to actively recruit and prepare Chicago-area scientists and engineers to work with Chicago students in classrooms citing both programs’ long-term impact on participating youth as a motivating factor for companies.

In partnership with companies and civic organizations, Citizen Schools brings real world experts into schools and expand the learning day by 400 hours a year for each student, setting hundreds of students on pathways to high school, college, and career success.

Volunteers help students make the connection between math and architecture, engineering or business. They help students see how science connects to animals, plants and gardening. National external evaluations have shown that Citizen Schools students attend more school, get better grades, perform better on standardized tests, and graduate from high school at higher rates than their peers who did not participate in Citizen Schools.

It’s a nationally-recognized organization that provides students typically underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and math disciplines – particularly girls and students of color – with extended opportunities to do science side-by-side with scientists who act as teachers, mentors, and role-models. Project Exploration’s highly-personalized approach fosters long-term involvement in science through hands-on programming, authentic fieldwork and lab work, leadership development, and meaningful relationships with scientists. Since 1999, Project Exploration has achieved significant outcomes for the students it has served in Chicago in its after school and summer programs:

  • 95% of participants graduate from high school.
  • 60% of high school graduates go on to pursue STEM degrees from a four-year institution.
  • 60% of students who graduated college graduated with a degree in a STEM-related field.

About Citizen Schools
Citizen Schools is a leading national education initiative that partners with middle schools to expand the learning day for children in low-income communities across the country through afterschool and expanded learning time programs. The organization mobilizes a second shift of afternoon educators, who provide academic support, leadership development, and “apprenticeships”—hands-on projects taught by volunteers from business and civic organizations. At over thirty middle schools in eight states, Citizen Schools students develop the skills they need to succeed in high school, college, the workforce, and civic life.

Learn more about Citizen Schools’ programs, results and how to get involved at

About Project Exploration
Project Exploration is a nonprofit science education organization that works to ensure communities traditionally overlooked by science- particularly minority youth and girls – have access to personalized experiences with science and scientists. In 2009 Project Exploration received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring, and last year was given an Excellence in Summer Learning Award by the National Summer Learning Association.

More information about Project Exploration’s model, programs or impact and how to get involved, is available


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