The blog post orginally appeared on the City Year Alumni site as Future Alumni Spotlight: Gabrielle Betances, CYNH '14
"I deeply believe that in a world of socioeconomic, cultural, and ethnic divides, education can help transcend boundaries and overcome challenges.”
By Gabrielle Betances, City Year New Hampshire '14
Education is a tool in an ongoing process that once obtained cannot be taken away. It empowers students to grow, succeed and dream. My name is Gabrielle and I am serving as a City Year AmeriCorps member in Manchester, New Hampshire in a 5th grade classroom. The 5th grade holds an important place in my heart; language was the biggest obstacle to my educational success during my late elementary and middle school education but due to incredible support, I was not only able to overcome my obstacles but to succeed and dream. I serve now at Beech St. Elementary because I believe my students have the right to dream and learn the tools that will allow them to succeed in life.
I serve on a team with seven other young idealists working alongside teachers and administrators to help struggling students get back on track. Every day I provide tutoring to a caseload of students who have been identified as struggling with math or literacy based on their performance data from previous years. I create individualized lessons to ensure these students have the instruction they need to catch up to their grade level. Recently, I came across a crumbled page on my desk in my fifth grade classroom and as I opened it, I realized it was a note from one of my students. It said “Thank you Ms. B for helping me with math. I get it now and it’s the first time I understand what to do for homework.” This letter is a true testament of the importance of education and the role educators have in student’s lives; through my service, I can provide in-class support to the students who need it most to get back on track and reach their full potential.
Last year, City Year corps members in New Hampshire served for over 90,000 hours with over 1,000 students at Beech Street Elementary and in five other elementary schools. Over 90% of the students tutored by corps members improved their literacy scores and 20% progressed from being behind grade level to fully back on track in just one year. What’s even more incredible is that a majority of students tutored by City Year who were off track in math at the start of the year moved back on track by the end of the year.
My year of service has allowed me to solidify my passion to become a teacher. As an educator, I cannot directly ease poverty or repair dysfunctional families. However, I can give students tools to effectively change their lives through learning basic academic and social skills. I hope to motivate students to improve and grow both individually and as a group by praising their accomplishments and supporting them to turn weaknesses into strengths.
I hope to spend one more year in service with City Year New Hampshire, to lead a team of corps members as they impact students the same way I have. When I complete my service, I will be following my passion for teaching by participating in the Urban Teacher Center teaching preparation program. I deeply believe that in a world of socioeconomic, cultural, and ethnic divides, education can help transcend boundaries and overcome challenges.
Gabrielle Betances is from Gettysburg, PA and graduated from Dickinson College in 2012. She studied Political Science and French. To reach Gabby, you can email her here. Click here to connect with her on LinkedIn.
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