James Otis School
Nature and Purpose
The Family School is a uniquely successful and comprehensive full service school collaboration between the East Boston YMCA and the James Otis Elementary School in East Boston. The goal of The Family School is to help children succeed in school by helping schools become centers for the development of children and families and by infusing the school with a family literacy approach. Ninety percent of Otis families are immigrant families, primarily from Central America and Brazil. Within the Family School, parents are given a chance to study English as a second language in the school while simultaneously learning how to advocate for their children. The children, few of whom spoke English before entering school, are provided with individualized mentoring, assistance in their classrooms, and a literacy rich after school program. PULSE students would join The Family School in its goal of helping the Otis School enlarge its mission to include the whole family.
This is a unique opportunity for PULSE students to understand inner city schools, current educational challenges and methods, and above all, to learn about the experiences of immigrant children and families. We maximize the experience for each PULSE student by personalizing the internships. All internships will include some classroom assistant work during the school day so that PULSE students will become part of the school. All internships will include some time spent within the Family School's family literacy program which takes place after school five days a week. Beyond that, PULSE students will be offered a lot of choices. They can work with children ranging in age from 5 to 11. They can work with primarily Spanish speaking or Portuguese speaking children. They can be individual mentors or homework helpers. They can assist in the parent ESL classes. They can plan and lead activities during lunch times. They can lead boys or girls groups. They can offer a club within the after school program which builds on a personal interest or skill.
PULSE students will work 8-10 hours a week, spread over one or two days in a consistent schedule that has been worked out with their supervisor. They must have week day time available between the hours of 8:30 am and 3:00 pm and make a serious commitment to be at the school for the full academic year.
For the first month, PULSE students will meet for an hour each week with the teacher. After that, they will meet on a biweekly basis, although she will be available to them on a daily basis should they need support or advice.
Mara Dos Santos
James Otis Elementary School
218 Marion St.
East Boston, MA 02128