Support Our Summer 2022 Launch of S.T.E.M. to S.T.A.R.S.
We are excited to highlight our Work, Learn, and Grow initiative. Students have already begun their Work, Learn & Grow (WLG) experiences this Fall. This program is being offered in collaboration with United Activities Unlimited (UAU).
WLG is broken down into two parts:
Students are eager to work and learn through these unique time. As a team, we are eager to have the students involved in different ways and continue to innovate ways to give our community opportunities to grow and succeed.
At Arete, we pride ourselves on opening up pathways for youth to be successful in their chosen career pathways, specially youth who are alumni of our afterschool, summer, and internship programs in Mott Haven.
This week we offered paid training through our partnership with IDE (Innovative Designs for Learning) to Arete alumni who work as employees in our Summer Programs at MS/HS 223 in Community School District 7 in the South Bronx. Our intergenerational approach to offering afterschool and summer programs in Mott Haven has distinguished our organization. By creating new teaching career pathways for middle and high school students in our teaching internship program, our high school graduates are able to enter the work force during their first semester of college. The specialized training, mentoring, alumni network, and opportunity to give back to their community through direct service in our afterschool and summer programs all provide unique advantages to the youth choosing to work with Arete as employees after graduation. They are caring, talented, problem-solvers and educators who take on leadership and direct teaching roles in our youth development programs.
This week's alumni educator training focused on how to engage students in the classroom by making learning more student-centered. Our alumni are a critical part of our strategy to support our partner schools with building trust with families as they choose to send students back to school this fall. They serve as bilingual family advocates who call families weekly and make connections to humanitarian, education, housing, and health services. They work afterschool as activity specialists, intern supervisors, technology specialists, and program coordinators. Providing opportunities for our alumni to build their skills enables us to have higher quality programs and for our alumni to progress further on the pathway to education and youth development careers.
What do we mean by “engagement” in the content of teaching and learning? What causes students to engage in the learning? How can we tap into their curiosity and drive in order to ignite learning? This professional learning experience will not only expose you to key ideas with respect to student engagement, but will also provide you with a set of concrete tools and strategies for engaging students in academic and social-emotional learning. You will leave the experience with a self-identified goal for increasing engagement in your own work with students.
Focus and Essential Questions for Each Day:
When Dr. Ramon Gonzalez envisioned that a small non-profit could be the difference maker for kids in the South Bronx, he created a legacy in Mott Haven. Every student coming through the doors of The Laboratory School of Finance and Technology can and will reach their full potential.
Arete, the notion that excellence is virtue, that investing in human potential will create positive and lasting change: that is who we are. Those are the ideals we embody.
Before the pandemic, we served our community by providing free services that expanded the school day with afterschool programming in the arts, STEM, fitness, SEL, and academics; free services that expanded the school week through Saturday Academy; and free services that expanded the school year through our Summer Bridge Arts Institute. We expanded career pathways through internships, leadership programs, College Office staffing, and college visits. We served the Mott Haven community through food and coat drives, community events and celebrations spotlighting youth achievement, and providing greater access to technology. From 2012 to 2020, Arete dedicated itself to cultivating excellence in the youth we served.
The past nine months of the pandemic have transformed the terrain of the afterschool sector and presented a call to action for Arete to respond to the dramatic humanitarian, mental health, and economic development needs of our students, families, and neighborhoods.
We have learned that in the current pandemic setting, youth can reach their full potential, and we have to work differently to set the conditions for youth to flourish.
We have had limited access to school buildings to run Extended Schools programming. When the school buildings are open, we run program at just 15% of the capacity of pre-pandemic operations. Instead of 350 students in the building afterschool each week, we have 70 students.
We are working remotely; we are engaging volunteers; we are hiring and training youth. We have seen an outpouring of public financial and volunteer support from individuals and foundations who are dedicated to the success of youth in Mott Haven. We have channeled new funds from individual donors and foundations to feed our families, staff our family help hotline, provide wifi and computer access, and expand our paid internship programs for youth.
Our older students do not have the luxury to attend afterschool programming online; they are caring for siblings inside all day, struggling to connect via dropped cell and wifi connections, overwhelmed by the amount of time they are asked to be learning in digital spaces, and supporting caretakers who have lost jobs and homes during the pandemic.
Our approach to nurturing youth excellence in the pandemic has been to provide new, one-on-one tutoring and small group afterschool instruction and to pay, train, and hire our students and graduates to offer those services; to continue providing essential academic afterschool offerings (credit-bearing courses, book clubs, 8th grade algebra, debate); and to seek outside investments to provide food, PPE, school supplies, computers, and hotspots to our families.
The results have been inspiring. The creativity, passion, and expertise of our more senior staff has been funneled into our academic afterschool offerings and our expanded career pathways in teaching, the arts, and STEM for our students and graduates. Half of our staff are program alumni who work alongside our 35 high school and middle school students in paid internships to provide peer-tutoring and youth advocacy through the arts. We have raised over $120,000 (10% of our annual budget in 2020) in new funding sources to provide humanitarian aid and digital access for remote learning to our families in Mott Haven.
There is so much more to do in 2021.
Our work begins with gaining financial stability in 2021. We have weathered significant financial losses in 2020 due to unprecedented strains on state and city budgets due to the pandemic. Delayed reimbursements from the city and state agencies who provide roughly 75% of our program budget have threatened our ability to continue our programs uninterrupted in 2021.
We have not yet cut services to families based on the economic crisis in the city. For nine months we have thrived despite city and state budget cuts to the non-profit sector and specifically afterschool programming. We continue to seek public support for our work in 2021 through partnering with the Robin Hood Foundation, Hayden Foundation, Heckscher Foundation, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Gen Next, and the Tracy Family Foundation and through individual donor support. In 2020, we saw a $200,000 increase in foundation support (200% increase from 2019) and a $40,000 increase in individual donor support (200% increase from 2019). We are eager to see those numbers continue to soar in 2021 as we work to expand investment in Mott Haven youth.
We believe we have the talent, history, and vision to continue cultivating excellence in Mott Haven youth. We are eager to grow our programs to support our neighborhood in the South Bronx and explore new collaborations in Harlem to support schools and families interested in partnering with Arete in 2021.
Looking back, looking ahead, we are committed to training, empowering, hiring, and bringing out the full potential in our youth.
The Arete Internship Program recruits outstanding middle and high school students, as well as, alumni from the Lab School who are interested in pursuing careers in the field of education. As interns, they develop job readiness skills and experiences that enhance their college applications and job resumes. Interns are specifically trained to provide up to 5 hours per week of tutoring and mentoring services to middle schoolers who are struggling with remote learning assignments. The free virtual Tutor Program takes place during after school time (Monday - Friday, between 4 and 7 PM) in secure grade-level zoom supervised by Arete staff members.
Each student who participates in the virtual Tutor Program is recommended by their teachers and approved by their guardians. Intern-tutors are provided with access to Google Classrooms and communicate with the teachers on a weekly basis in order to better prepare for their tutoring sessions. In order to keep teachers and families informed, tutors email weekly reports of their students’ progress.
Interns learn about various education issues, are trained on specific teaching skills and engage in ongoing reflection to improve. Interns receive professional development in the areas of community outreach, social-emotional learning, lesson planning and overall job readiness. They participate in weekly meetings to track progress toward goals and collaboratively discuss ways to improve. In addition, each intern undergoes 3 observations per term as part of their job readiness evaluation. Their evaluation consists of data from observations, student progress reports, family and teacher surveys, as well as, their own self-assessments.
Interns who successfully complete the program, walk away with an understanding and appreciation for what it takes to support students and families in their community. They exit their internship with specific job readiness skills that can be applied in many different types of work and professional settings.
Below is a sample of an intern-tutor’s weekly schedule (interns can work up to 8 hours per week)
Watch Senior Intern Kailyn Espinosa share what she has learned about planning mini-lessons in this video where she presents a lesson she will use to train new peer-tutors.
Arete is proud to announce the hiring of Yaritza Montiel, a graduate of the Laboratory School of Finance and Technology (MS/HS 223) and alumni of Arete programs, in the new position of Youth Service and Leadership Fellow. In this role Yartiza will be leading youth service and leadership initiatives for middle school and high school students across our programs in Mott Haven. She will be focusing on the areas: financial literacy, community service learning, advocacy for racial equity, food security for children and families, and high quality job access for youth.
Yaritza is enrolled at Cornell University and is majoring in Information Science and also serves in the U.S. Army Reserves. She will be taking a GAP year for the 2020-2021 school year and during this time will serve as an Arete Fellow and figure out what she is passionate about, enjoys doing, and should explore for a future career. We are thrilled to have Yaritza join the team.
Please consider joining our team of talented high school students in Mott Haven.
This fall, we are offering three pathways for the Areté internship - Teaching, Arts, and STEM. All internship pathways allow high school students to explore career options, develop job readiness skills, and give back to the larger school community through service. Regardless of which internship pathway you maybe offered, we expect excellent performance in all of the following areas listed below:
Responsibilities & Expectations
“The most rewarding part about my tutor experience has been being able to showcase my abilities in helping people in hopes that they will gain from me, the same way I gained from my teachers.”
-Joselyn, 9th Grade Intern
This 16-week internship program initially began this spring with 8 high school interns preparing to gain job-embedded skills to enter the education field through an innovative internship program at the Laboratory School of Finance and Technology led by teacher leader and Areté Education Director of Professional Learning, Edward Martinez. Since the ramifications of a global pandemic have radically altered the context for the internship, these high school students (now swelling to a group of 20!) are now serving as the lifeline for middle school students during the final weeks of remote learning for the 2020 school year.
“The best part of it all is learning and teaching at the same time.”
-Jose, 10th Grade Intern
The goal of the 16-week Internship Program at Arete Education is to prepare students at HS 223 for job opportunities in the education field. Interns are provided with professional development centered on leadership skills, curriculum development, and social-emotional learning. The weekly work schedule allows for each intern to provide 6 hours of small group tutoring services to middle schoolers who need extra help in ELA or Math. The interns also receive up to 4 hours of professional development per week to support their growth. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, all professional development is now being delivered through remote learning via Google Classroom and Meet.
“What I find most useful about the Intern-Tutor experience is learning how to manage classrooms, create lessons, and work with students.”
-Natalie, 10th Grade Intern
The Internship uses a community service-learning approach where the interns study education issues and receive specialized training in order to address the academic and social-emotional needs of MS 223 students. Interns who successfully complete the internship program, walk away with updated resumes, portfolios of the work they completed and recommendation letters they can use for future employment. The interns will also have an opportunity to be employed in the summer and fall programs that are operated by Arete Education and its partners.
“My intern experience has allowed me to gain many useful skills such as the ability to manage classroom behavior. This skill is very important when dealing with children and this internship has given me the necessary tools I need...”
-Chanel, 12th Grade Intern
The Interns are currently in the process of preparing enrichment club lesson plans that align with the workshop model. They partnered up to design fun and interactive lessons for the after-school setting. Last week (April 16th), the interns had the opportunity to receive guidance from MS/HS 223’s Principal, Dr. Gonzalez, who participated in a Google Meet session. The students engaged in a discussion to critique each other with feedback. Much of the suggestions that were provided were rooted in consistency with having clear and measurable objectives, simplicity, and alignment. The lessons ranged in genres from analyzing song lyrics, drawing 3-dimensional objects to creating a space for team-building. Dr. Gonzalez was impressed with the high level work that the interns were doing. Before the session was over he let the interns know that “It takes years for teachers to learn these concepts, but you are all showing your learned them after a couple of sessions... Pretty impressive!”
“One thing that I have found useful about my Internship experience is understanding that there are different ways to help students... that being an intern is not only about helping a student, but also about building a relationship in which they feel comfortable asking for help.”
-Evelyn, 12th Grade Intern
“I definitely feel more confident to lead a group of middle schoolers because of how I have been taught to deal with different scenarios that I may face. I just overall feel more prepared. I am capable of creating a lesson for kids that is engaging...”
Franklin, 9th Grade Intern