2018-07-02

We encourage our students to be lifelong learners and hope that their time in school sparks an understanding of the importance of education throughout their entire lives. As mentors, it's good to practice what you preach. We're always striving to learn more about today's educational landscape so that we can better support and understand our students and communities.

Here are a few of our favorite books that inspired and helped us become better mentors, tutors and advocates for our students.

What I Wish My Teacher Knew: How One Question Changed Everything for Our Kids
by Kyle Schwartz

City Year alumna and third-grade teacher Kyle Schwartz asked her students to complete this sentence: “I wish my teacher knew …” Their responses were eye opening to Kyle. She began to see and understand that, in order to create an open, safe and supportive classroom environment, educators needed to understand the realities their students face both inside and outside the classroom.

This book explores the insights Kyle’s gained from this assignment and from her viral social media campaign #IWishMyTeacherKnew, and offers resources for building safe spaces for our students.

Annual Growth For All Students, Catch-up Growth For Those Who Are Behind
by Lynn Fielding, Nancy Kerr and Paul Rosier

This book explores how Kennewick Elementary School in Washington was able to develop a culture of growth mindset among their staff and students and drastically improve their students’ success in math and English. By leveraging data and performance insights, teachers improve their lesson plans. Additionally, teachers, as well as tutors and mentors, were able to identify and target key areas where their students needed the most support. As a City Year AmeriCorps member, you’ll be putting these tactics and strategies to work in a very similar way, to help all students grow during the school year.

Evicted: Poverty & Profit in the American City
by Matthew Desmond

When a student enters the schoolyard, they don’t magically shed the challenges and issues they might be facing at home or outside of school. A number of our students and their families are facing housing challenges, such as eviction and homelessness. This book is an eye-opening look at poverty and eviction in the United States. Matthew Desmond follows eight Milwaukee families and their two landlords to deepen our understanding of the economic exploitation of poverty.

Trust in Schools: A Core Resource for School Improvement
by Anthony Bryk and Barbara Schneider

Although the national graduation rate has rose steadily over the past few years, there are still some systems and structures in place that are impeding education reforms and student success. This book provides insights into the education reform issues facing the schools and communities we serve. Anthony Bryk and Barbara Schneider explore effective social relationships in 12 Chicago elementary schools and emphasize how this relational trust can serve as a prime resource for improving our nation’s schools. Their book is the culmination of years of survey and data and extensive interviews with school administrators, teachers, parents and local community leaders.

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