City Year Sacramento staff and corps provided a special presentation to the Sacramento City Council during the council meeting at City Hall Tuesday evening. Wearing their signature red jackets, the AmeriCorps members cheered and chanted from their section as community members filed into the chambers. The evening was an opportunity for the entire Sacramento team to share their work and results with councilmembers.
Following the meeting’s traditional commencement proceedings, Mayor Kevin Johnson introduced City Year Sacramento Executive Director Jake Mossawir, who shared with the council the organization’s growth from serving at one school with a handful of corps members to 60 AmeriCorps volunteers serving at six schools across two local districts. Mossawir summarized for the council the academic interventions – focused on improvements in attendance, behavior, and course performance in math and English Language Arts (ELA) – that the corps members conduct daily in local classrooms. “I think this group knows more than anyone the importance of ELA and literacy,” Mossawir said. The assembly applauded South Sacramento’s Fern Bacon Middle School as the City Year partner school that experienced the highest rate of academic improvement across the organization’s national network. Mossawir also noted the drastic decrease in suspension and expulsions at Oak Ridge Elementary School. He credited this decrease to the adoption of restorative practices by the Oak Ridge administration and staff, and City Year’s ability to work collaboratively with them in that process.
AmeriCorps member Malik Powell shared with the council his own experience serving at Oak Ridge Elementary School, and the gradual improvements in positive conflict resolution he has experienced working with a student this year. Powell, a Foothill High School graduate, expressed his dedication to higher education and his commitment to serving locally. “This city is my home, and my desire to give back to my community was my driving force for joining City Year,” he said. “I serve because higher education should be an option for all.”
The opportunity to present to the council was also a chance for City Year to thank the community for its investment in City Year, and also to thank “the hard work of this group behind me,” Mossawir said.
Councilmember and former school board member Jay Schenirer thanked the corps for their tireless dedication. “You are making a profound difference in our community,” said Schenirer. “You should inspire us all. You sure inspire me.” Councilmember and former school board member Rick Jennings appreciated the team for their partnership with local school districts that result in academic growth and achievement for students. “A child gets up and goes to school because they know they are going to see their mentor,” Jennings said, speaking directly to the AmeriCorps members. “When I hear the results…to see (the schools) rising up the ranks, I know you have played a critical role in that.”
Mayor Johnson, speaking on behalf of the assembled members, extended their support. “You can count us in,” said Johnson. “We all support the work you are doing.” He thanked the site for “putting Sacramento on the map” by leading the City Year network. Mayor Johnson briefly sported his own red jacket as he spoke about his appreciation the program and took a picture with the corps and council.