Xavier Contreras is an administrator at Mendez High School as well as the English Language Development coordinator. 

How would you describe the typical City Year AmeriCorps member? Energetic, positive, compassionate and empathetic. The team complements the Mendez staff in a highly effective way.

How does City Year help build a positive school culture and climate? City Year starts the day welcoming the students, which in turn sets the tone for the rest of the day. Throughout the day, their hard work is evident through the interactions they have with the students both in informal and formal ways. All of these acts lead to enhancing the positive Mendez school climate.

In your own words, why is City Year’s work necessary? Successful schools tend to have more than just teachers helping kids. City Year provides adults that students go to in addition to their teachers. The kids open up to City Year mentors probably with greater frequency than they do teachers. This is due to the fact they have positive relationships with the City Year mentors. 

What is your favorite piece of City Year culture and why? “Morning Greeting” sets the positive tone for rest of day and the end-of-ASP [after-school program] “Spirit Break” ends the day in a positive way.


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