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Picking Up Performance When the School Day Ends

Resource type: News

Edutopia |

After-school mentors can keep middle school kids from dropping out.

Original Source

Citizen Schools, an Atlantic grantee, was chosen by Edutopia as part of their “A New Day for Learning” series. Visit the Edutopia website for the full feature about Citizen Schools, and material for creating similar after-school programs and training mentors.

What Citizen Schools Is About, and Why We Picked It

Citizen Schools has successfully built a scalable model that connects students to community professionals through real-work experiences and apprenticeships. Through its mentor preparatory course, Citizen Schools teaches adult volunteers how to become strong mentors to students to help reduce the dropout risk.

These programs focus on middle school students because research has shown that these students are the most susceptible to dropping out of school. Relating to youth through enriched activities during the “golden hours” — the hours after the school day ends — helps curtail negative behavior that often occurs during this crucial time. Adult mentors are an important component of full-time-learning programs as they become powerful role models to students, keeping youth on a motivated track for academic achievement.

Citizen Schools records show improved attendance, grades, and career planning for youth involved in its programs. The impact can be looked at in three ways: through a rigorous independent evaluation, through internal analysis of the program’s effectiveness, and by the excellent work apprentices create every semester — work that is called WOW!.

What These Materials Are Designed to Teach

These resources will help students develop

  • leadership, teamwork, technology, and oral-communication skills.
  • proficiency in subject matter related to the expertise of the mentor, such as art, music, or science.
  • confidence in working with other students, as well as adults.

Background Information

This material, provided by Citizen Schools, is funded by a generous grant from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

To learn more about successful full-time learning, read ” Reforming the School Day: The Evolution of Full-Time-Learning Programs“.

About The George Lucas Educational Foundation:

The George Lucas Educational Foundation, founded in 1991, is a nonprofit operating foundation that documents, disseminates and advocates for innovation and the redesign of K-12 learning environments, including how technology can transform teaching and learning. Through,Edutopia magazine, Edutopia video, Edutopia e-newsletters, and a growing online community, the Foundation is building a movement to stimulate education reform with a special focus on core concepts of integrated studies, project learning, technology integration, social and emotional learning, teacher development, and assessment.

Related Resources


Children & Youth

Global Impact:

United States


afterschool, Citizen Schools