Earlier today, students from 13 different countries met for the first time on Cisco’s San Jose campus. For some, like Odwa Yekela, the visit is a first adventure away from home in South Africa. For others, like Richard Brunner, it’s a simple two-hour drive from Sacramento, California. No matter where the 18 students came from, though, the visit is more than just a trip — it’s a life-changing experience and celebration of their achievement as global winners of the Cisco Networking Academy NetRiders Competition.
This post was written by guest blogger Stephen Liem, IT Director, Global Quality and Support Services
There is no limit to what education can bring. It opens up many opportunities that otherwise may not be available.
In the past 10 weeks I‘ve had the privilege of teaching journalism to the middle school students in Joseph-George School in East Jan Jose, California. Cisco has been partnering with Citizen Schools, a nonprofit organization, to deliver after school educational programs to low-income schools across the country.
Citizen Schools aims to prevent students from dropping out of high school through its Extended Learning Time (ELT) model, which provides after-school mentoring and support to low-performing middle schools. Volunteer professionals, or “Citizen Teachers,” teach 10-week after-school apprenticeships on topics they are passionate about, from blogging to filmmaking to robotics.
On average the schools Citizen Teachers visit do 300 hours less of after school programming compared to their counterparts. In East San Jose, where the graduation rate is at 79%, providing more meaningful educational programs has certainly helped not just the students themselves but also the community.
In my journalism class, students in the sixth grade learned how to interview and collect data, how to write an article well, and how to express and publish their opinions honestly and truthfully. Collectively they decided on the name of the newspaper – the East San Jose News — and the subject of their stories.
The results were both eye opening and touching at the same time.
This blog was originally published on the Citizen Schools inspirED blog and reposted with permission from Citizen Schools.
Meeting every student’s academic needs in the classroom can be challenging but is essential to their success. Many of the public middle schools Citizen Schools partners with are reaching students who are academically all over the map, with many falling below grade level.
In order to provide customized support to the highest-need students, we began “blended learning” pilots this year focused on core math instruction. Blended learning, which pairs computer-aided instruction with face-to-face classroom methods, enables Citizen Schools’ staff in four pilot programs across the country to offer more personalized and more efficient academic support during the expanded learning day.
Partnered with Cisco Foundation and MIND Research Institute, the blending learning math program utilizes Spatial-Temporal (ST) Math instructional software to focus on improving students’ math skills, with the aim of increasing student proficiency for long-term success.
Launched this September, over 350 students are utilizing the ST Math instructional software at four schools across the country. And after 3 months of implementing the pilots, the initial feedback and support from our school partners is positive.
Right now, 66 millions of girls around the world dream of going to school.
Educating girls can break cycles of poverty in just one generation, yet millions of girls aren’t in school. Educated girls stand up for their rights, marry and have children later, educate their own children, and their families and communities thrive.
Yet millions of girls around the world face barriers to education that boys do not. Removing barriers such as early marriage, gender-based violence, domestic slavery and sex trafficking means not only a better life for girls, but a safer, healthier and more prosperous world for all.
Lack of access to education for girls is a real issue, but I must admit I often don’t think of it. Yes, in my daily work with the Cisco Networking Academy I am constantly reminded of the lack of females studying IT, and am involved in projects to help increase these numbers worldwide. But I often forget about the issue one step back. What about the girls who don’t have the luxury of choosing what to study? Those girls who just want to go to school, but can’t?
A few months ago I was reading our Cisco Corporate Social Responsibility newsletter when I saw a post about this very issue. Cisco offices around the globe were showing a documentary called Girl Rising. I was curious and asked for a copy. A few weeks later with a group of co-workers in our Barcelona office we were moved by the story of 9 girls from around the world portrayed in the video.
Here in Silicon Valley and many towns across the globe, it’s that time of year. The time of year when we’re looking forward to spending time with family and friends. It’s also the time of year when we turn our attention to giving back to those who are less fortunate.
This season, I want to direct the focus to just a few of the Cisco Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) partners and non-profits who work tirelessly to give back all year long. These connections are what make the CSR work we do possible. Our partners give us the ability to scale our efforts and create exponential social, environmental, and business impact.
One of our CSR focus areas is education. As the world becomes more connected, new career growth and opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields are more plentiful than ever. Yet the majority of U.S. students lack foundational skills in STEM. MIND Research Institute set out to ensure that all students are mathematically equipped to solve the world’s most challenging problems. By developing the game-based Spatial Temporal (ST) Math instructional software program, MIND Research Institute is revolutionizing math education through visual learning. Amazingly, schools that fully implement ST Math see double, and even triple, the growth in math proficiency than comparable schools. Cisco has partnered with MIND Research Institute for over a decade now, helping the organization scale delivery and access to ST Math by transitioning the software to a web-based platform. I’m extremely proud that this work and investment has increased access from 55,000 students in 2007 to more than 800,000 students and 31,000 teachers in 40 states, and is helping develop the workforce of the future. Read More »