Dr. Christine Sanders is the principal of 122nd Elementary in Watts.
Dr. Christine Sanders with the 122nd Elementary Team
How would you describe the typical City Year AmeriCorps member?
There are so many adjectives to describe the typical City Year AmeriCorps member because they’re all so talented! They’re all motivated with an inner sense to do good in this world. During the three cycles that I’ve been blessed to have City Year here at my campus, they’ve all been so willing to reach out to students and do whatever it takes to make students feel and be successful, both academically and emotionally.
How do teachers and City Year AmeriCorps members collaborate in the classroom?
I think teachers benefit from having a City Year AmeriCorps member in their room because there’s an extra person who can give added support to students. Student academic growth is visible in successful partner teacher relationships – those where regular meetings discussing lesson plans occur.
Can you talk about the role of specific City Year programs on campus?
City Year is on my campus from 7 AM to 6 PM. Their commitment is huge. Rarely is there a time when I see a City Year AmeriCorps member without a student. From morning to night, they’re a support to our staff. There’s 50 Acts, their after-school program, and their work in classrooms, but they’re much bigger than that – the kind words that they say when students are coming into school, the support they give to students who don’t understand a math problem, helping students be the best they can be. I don’t see all of that, but I know that that happens every day. That’s why I want to keep them on campus because to me that’s invaluable.
What’s your favorite part of City Year culture?
Of course the jackets stand out. But more importantly, it’s how special each City Year member is to each of their students. Each one has a completely different relationship with the students that I and their teachers will never have. Students know they can go to any of the City Year AmeriCorps members and talk to them. They will open up to the team in a way that they will never open up to me. It isn’t visible – it’s not the yellow jackets or the clapping – it’s what the team provides students on an inner level that makes them all very special.