LET CHILDREN DISCOVER THEIR OWN BRILLIANCE.
4th Grade Parent
Crystal German is in her third year as a Citizens parent. Her daughter is in the 4th grade and is thriving. Crystal has loved watching her daughter's experiences as a Citizens student - the field trips, the classroom exercises, and the topics they cover. “It’s been much broader than we anticipated for a primary school,” she said. She loves how Citizens creates a holistic learning environment -- she has learned about a broad range of topics in relevant, meaningful ways. She has not only learned her state capitols; she has also written to her representatives in Congress about her own views on immigration. “I appreciate the basic fundamental learning exercises Citizens provides as well as the more expansive and inclusion learning.”
What has been one of your favorite things as a Citizens parent?
We’ve enjoyed the administration’s openness to feedback and willingness to hear parent and student feedback. We’ve enjoyed the student-led conferences, the communication we receive, and just really being available and accessible to us - whether it’s to discuss a challenge or an opportunity.
What about your child’s classroom stands out to you? How is it different from what you grew up in or what you envisioned it would be like?
She is our only child, so we can only compare to what is was like when we were in elementary school, and it’s a very different experience -- from the flexible seating to the different spaces in the classroom for different activities that allow the children to get up and move and place themselves in different environments. I think it helps in shifting from activity to activity. It helps them be energized and not sitting in the same seat for 6 to 8 hours a day. This is very different from my experience in elementary school!
All of the teachers do an awesome job of decorating their classrooms, too. They are colorful, and they have class instructions posted. They put a lot of thought into what they want the kids to see every day and what they want them to take away each day, so it’s a great visual reminder of what’s important for the learning experience.
How has Citizens helped you support your child in academics?
Being the mother of an African American female child, I’m really keen on her being encouraged in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). This year she had the opportunity to do accelerated math. I was able to sit down and have a conversation with her teacher about the delicate balance between creating a supportive and encouraging environment in STEM, particularly for a female child of color, and at the same time not causing her stress to where it becomes a task and she doesn’t want to learn anymore.
The openness of the school to have those types of conversations, just the broader approach, when it comes to learning science and math for girls, and for girls of color in particular, and to have them listen to me has been wonderful. We then agreed to work together to make sure the environment that we’re creating for my child is one that she continues to have a passion for learning and continues to have a curiosity around science and math. I’ve really appreciated that.
What else do you want parents who are considering Citizens of the World Kansas City for their child/children to know?
Citizens is a school where the students are expected to master certain skills and certain topics. The differentiators of the school and the things that make it unique is the focus on emotional learning, on project-based learning and the holistic approach. But at the end of the day, we are still putting a lot of energy into making sure these children also know the academic fundamentals that they will need to be successful throughout their education path, whether that path takes them into college, or into a trade school or a vocational school. Regardless of that path, I want to make sure that parents understand that at the end of the day students at Citizens are getting a really good education.