Q: Do I get to pick my school site?
A: No. During Orientation Site Supervisors give presentations regarding the details of each school so CCAs can learn more about them. We collect preferences, but ultimately the leadership team decides best fit – considering both school culture and team dynamics. You will learn your school site approximately halfway through orientation.
Q: How is my caseload of students chosen?
A: We work with teachers, counselors, and principals to split up students on caseloads. We consider which CCA would like to work with which grade (grades 10-12). It’s likely you’ll have 2 different grade levels on your caseload.
Q: What is a typical day like?
A: There is no typical day! CCAs create their own schedule, which is largely based on their school and your strengths. We’ll ask you to attend a certain number of classes a day/week based on your skills, your students’ needs, and the relationships you create with school staff. When not in class you are likely spending time in the lunchroom with students during their lunch periods (an excellent time to meet with your students) or you are in the Promise Corps classroom meeting 1:1 with your caseload students who have either set up appointments with you or have dropped in. There will be days you’ll be on class trips with students, sitting on a panel to listen to senior project presentations, attending school-wide town halls meetings or otherwise. Your daily schedule will always be different.
Q: When is registration?
A: We require everyone to come to our office for roughly 3 hours in either late June or early July to complete employment paperwork such as benefits information, payroll and emergency contact forms. As soon as the date is decided, future CCAs will be informed. Registration is mandatory for all CCA’s. If you do not attend registration on one of the available dates you will be unable to start your term of service.
Q: Is there orientation?
A: Yes! All CCA’s attend a two week pre-service orientation that will focus on building team, learning about Promise Corps culture and program model and gaining general information and skills to best prepare you for working with students. Sessions include: AmeriCorps 101, leadership style workshops, introduction to education reform, the high school environment, mandatory reporting, trauma informed care, and more!
Q: What kind of culture is there in Promise Corps?
A: We have several values that set the tone for the culture of Promise Corps: setting high expectations of excellence in all that we do, fostering creative & effective approaches to learning, always being authentically diverse & inclusive, being a resource to our community, putting students first, being fresh and fun, and being brave. At least once a month when we come together as a whole team, we do “value shout outs,” where you can shout out any other member in the corps for living out the above values! Our culture is focused on students first. Our values, leadership team and CCA’s are expected to approach every day with a “students first” mindset.
Q: Is there professional development?
A: Yes, we get together as an entire program at least once a month for Professional Development. Sessions depend on the needs of members and time of year. Sessions for the first half of the year focus on in-school service, while the second half of the year focuses more on members’ next steps after Promise Corps, and how to get there! (Resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn, interviewing tips, and more!). Professional development days also include time for reflection and best practice/challenge sharing among all CCA’s.
We also offer an evening event called Alternative Careers to Education, where we have a panel of professionals in various industries speak to members about careers beyond just teaching! Panelists have included corporate giving management, counseling, psychiatry, behavioral health, education policy and law, and teacher residency programs.
Q: What after school programs do you provide?
A: It depends on student interest and your skills! All of our schools have an after-school SAT prep program. Members have also organized a walking club, coding club, girls’ mentorship program, and more! During orientation and the first weeks of service you will be required to create a proposal for after school programs at your school site that support college and career readiness and respond to student interest.
Q: In addition to the schools, are there any other partnerships you have?
A: Yes, each school has a number of other partners in the school, with whom we work closely. Some programs are GEAR UP, The Netter Center, City Year, Talent Search, UPenn Upward Bound Math and Science, and more!
Q: What are some things that CCA’s go on to do after their service with Promise Corps?
A: Several members opt to do a second year of Promise Corps, some have gone on to become Philadelphia School District teachers, Counselors with college access programs like Upward Bound Math and Science, and many go on to earn master’s degrees in Counseling, Global Health, Writing, Education, and more!