Boys and Girls Club Interview

Boys and Girls Club

Boys and Girls Club of Rochester Interview Questions:

  1. Are the children of the boys and girls club of all diversities/ages/gender? Do you ever find cultural separations between them?

Very high diversity. 37% African American. 32% caucasion 20% Spanish speaking. Gender: 52% male, 48% female. 6-18 years old, although they are working on having birth to 18 at some point. There is a temporary group of Spanish speaking children from New Mexico students (group of 35) for the summer. I asked if there was any language barrier struggle and they have a Spanish speaking staff member.

  1. Is it hard finding volunteers to help the Boys and Girls Club?

They have a volunteer coordinator. She is very good at getting people to come in. Have about 5-6 volunteers come in each day. Volunteers are great positive role models, and have programs for each. One of the best things about volunteers is the 9 month commitment, which benefits the children because they start looking up to the consistent role models in their lives.

Education program: power hour for tutoring during the school year and has the goal 1 on 1 tutoring. “Bridge the gap”. They are working with principals and teachers to create a curriculum book to know where the students are in school and what homework they have.

  1. How many people work here, and what are the most crucial duties of day-to-day activities?

Members a day: Numbers double in summer- 130 and 75 during school year.

7 program staff. And 3 full time people: Program coordinator for health and life, education and volunteer coordinator. 2 bus drivers that bus students from school to the club.

  1. Where does funding come from?

Non-profit. Transportation is hard with budget cuts, or they will be picked up and brought home. The membership fee is only $10 a year per child, but adds up with so many members.

There is a lot of grant money, federal funding, and donations.

  1. What are some ways that the community contributes to the success of the Boys and Girls Club?

Partnerships with schools, different businesses, Panara bread supplies some dinners, grocery stores. A lot of community involvement. Gas station giving free freezes during the summer. The community is very supportive and wants to help as much as possible. There is a small science area in the building where they learn agriculture and also have a donated large garden down the road.

  1. Would you say the community involvement is one of the main contributors?

Yes, definitely.

  1. Why does Rochester need multiple campuses?

Neighborhood based center- Rochester is huge, so having multiple brings more community involvement and opportunities.

  1. How does the Boys and Girls Club link to Rochester Schools?

Buses take students from school to club, curriculum book to help, power hour, and students are encouraged from schools to join.

  1. How would someone get involved?

Phone call.  Volunteer coordinator.  United way. They have interviews, orientations and they have high expectations. 9 month commitment.

10. Do you have a lot of connections with teachers of Rochester Schools?

Buses have drop offs to the campus.


Additional Notes:

*non profit

Serve breakfast lunch and dinner.

Club pays for employee’s college scholarship rides. Full rides, different donators.

Get bad reputation of having troubled youth, when really a lot of the children are fantastic and extremely involved, as well as great students.


Interview Questions

Boys and Girls Club of Rochester Interview Questions:

  1. Are the children of the boys and girls club of all diversities/ages/gender? Do you ever find cultural separations between them?
  2. Is it hard finding volunteers to help the Boys and Girls Club?
  3. How many people work here, and what are the most crucial duties of day-to-day activities?
  4. Where does funding come from?
  5. What are some ways that the community contributes to the success of the Boys and Girls Club?
  6. Would you say the community involvement is one of the main contributors?
  7. Why does Rochester need multiple campuses?
  8. How does the Boys and Girls Club link to Rochester Schools?
  9. How would someone get involved?
  10. 10. Do you have a lot of connections with teachers of Rochester Schools?

Action Plan Paper


Action Plan Paper




Action Plan Paper

EFRT 308: St. Paul Travel Study

Sarah Parker

Winona State University



Teacher self-efficacy is “a belief that students can learn if taught and a belief in one’s own ability to successfully teach them” (Closing the Achievement Gap: Sergiovanni, 2000, p. 131). When assisted in unlimited resources, teachers can become the ultimate tool in any student’s life when they peel back each layer of the onion we know as education. In order to conquer resilience and encourage success, teachers have to connect to their students, the families of the students, as well as the surrounding community. After taking part in the St. Paul travel experience, the realization occurred that change could occur in any school system and any child’s life when a teacher is intentional in what they do and refuse to give up on any student. With the many strategies available to discourage and eliminate the option to fail, Bonnie Bernard’s Turn Around Strategies can help emphasize pathways to student success.


Expecting Nothing Less than the Best

Finding ways to create a positive learning environment can start simply with the behavior and expectations of the students and teacher. When students know what is expected of them, they are, in turn, also aware of what they should not do. As a future educator, it will be crucial to develop a solid sense of unity when it comes to understanding expectations. Students need to be held to constant high expectations not only to benefit the school’s success, but also to help the students see their possibility of academic achievement and the change they can create. “A consistent description of turnaround teachers is their seeing the possibility: ‘They held visions of us that we could not imagine for ourselves’” (Delpit 1996, p. 199).  Having the opportunity to take part as a temporary teacher figure in a classroom for a week allowed the ability for me to see that structure and routine was very important for the students. When they knew what they needed to do, they did it. I realized that structure for these students might be out of the ordinary from what they experience at home, where they might not have any sort of expectations or rules. Being aware of this can create solitude of understanding for some bad or strange behavior of certain students. If a student is acting out in class, it might be because they don’t get enough attention at home, not because they want to get in trouble. Knowing and understanding the home life of the students will create the ultimate trusting relationship. “Students desire authentic relationships in which they are trusted, given responsibility, spoken to honestly and warmly and treated with dignity and respect” (Poplin & Weeres, 1992).

When success is a promotion, it turns into a vision that, with high expectations, can become a reality. “In a study of school teachers, it turned out that when they held high expectations for their students, that alone was sufficient to cause an increase of 25 points in the students’ I.Q. scores” (Warren Bennis, 1994). Teaching is an inspiration within itself, but sharing the inspiration with my future students will be the greatest influence I can hope to share. If something as small as encouragement can change a child’s life forever, believing in each and every student will be a constant expectation for me. “But even an ordinary secretary or a housewife or a teenager can, within their own small ways, turn on a small light in a dark room” (Freedom Writers, Miep Gies, 2007).

With caring and quality relationships, students and teachers can build trust and learn a way of accepting every student to create “no excuses and who refuses to let them fail” (Wasley, Hampel, & Clark, 1997; Wilson & Corbett, 2001). Caring relationships can create a chain reaction of positive behavior. When students know they are respected, they will show respect back, and sequentially follow their expectations.

The Outer Ice Burg

Bernard’s Turn Around Strategies correlate in a symphonic way, and finding ways to be conscious of them all at once and emphasizing one at a time can be a way to develop the necessary relationship to find unity in the classroom. In order to understand, manage, and unravel misbehavior, a teacher must initially assess what is going on inside that student’s mind and home life. This couldn’t happen without trust. As demonstrated at the Cultural Wellness Center, our knowledge of each other can be compared to an ice burg. Although we might only see the tip of it, there is so much more below the surface that is worth revealing when the effort is put forth.

Bringing students together in my classroom will be very important. If the students can find trust within each other and see the classroom as a safe place, they will be comfortable to participate in activities and will in turn be able to follow along with curriculum. Once I have my own classroom, I won’t identify students by their race, but rather celebrate them individually based on the many attributes that make up their culture. “Diversity of all sorts is seen as a strength and an attribute to celebrate” (Closing the Achievement Gap, p. 130). By doing this, the children could potentially follow my example and have collective cultural perspectives early on in their lives, being able to differentiate Intercultural Development and progress in their competence, rather than diminish the importance of the differences. “People try to treat everyone the same… We are not all the same, but we are all of equal value” (Cultural Wellness Center, European American Self-Study).

The American culture is based heavily on a specific stereotype that frames the ideal “American Dream” with a biased perspective on Corporate White America. With this demeaning stereotypical world, and a place where you are judged by what you do, or how much money you make, it can be difficult for families that fall below what is the supposed norm. In classrooms, the sense of self-worth should never be higher for one student than another. Instead, their strengths should be celebrated and used to divulge other skills.

“Above all, a consensus seems to have been reached that regards any claims of biological superiority or inferiority as belonging to a class of belightened ideas that have no scientific validity whatsoever” (p. 79 New Darwinism). It is interesting to try determining the roots of stereotypes and the reasoning and legitimacy behind them. Comparing commonalities to social groups can contribute to classification, which seems to be a repetitive action that takes place on a daily basis. Grouping people together seems to happen without even acknowledging it, but being conscious of when it is happening can help diminish the polarization and find a strategy to develop. If these categorizations are invalid, where do they come from? It’s hard not to link the New Darwinism with the Polarization stage of Intercultural Development. Cultural differences in fact exist; however, improperly identifying cultures by invalid assumptions is no way to develop. By becoming overly critical toward people or cultures that are different, there is no room for progression. I feel like being cognizant of this in the classroom can contribute to a mutual understanding of the many differentiations that will be within all students.


Reaching Out

“When students have teachers who encourage them to work with and help others, and to give their gifts back to the community, youth develop the attitudes and competencies characteristic of healthy development and successful learning, such as social competence, problem solving, and a sense of self and future” (Closing the Achievement Gap, p. 123). When I become a teacher, it will be my job to encourage students to get involved in as many ways possible. Good schools come from great communities that are involved and supportive of the students. Education is the most valuable attribute to a young child, and bettering education starts with support.

With so many resources available in each community, it is vital to help students be familiar to them. For instance, the Boys and Girls Club is an organization that can be found in many areas all over the US. They are well known, and stay extremely busy, especially during the summer months when students might lose the structure they became familiar with during the school year. Regardless of the age I get the opportunity to teach, this organization can help them build many life skills such as communication, responsibility, and good decision-making. With the volunteers available to the children participating, positive role models can surround them. Briefly talking to one of the directors, it is clear that they encourage the children to reach out to the community, and help children see how important education is. Knowledge is a lifelong opportunity for growth, and with programs such as the Boys and Girls club, students can stay out of trouble, help each other, and continuously develop important life skills.


What is Power

With trusting relationships, meaningful lessons, and consistent and equal expectations, teachers can serve as a tool for all students to hold the power to succeed. Knowledge is the most powerful resource for any person, and with it anything can be achieved. Knowledge; however, can also be abused when its power is not shared to those who might be reaching for it the most. According to Janie Ward, “The truth is, teachers possess astounding power; they can decide to teach black children or not to teach them. Possessing this power means possessing a weapon that can inflict permanent damage” (School Rules, p. 512).

Academic expectations should always be high and equal, regardless the student and there should never be discrimination against a certain student or group of students. Every school district faces different demographics based on a lot more than just skin color, and when students face different challenges, it is crucial for them to know that someone believes in them. School systems should reward differences and “recognize that cultural differences present both opportunities and challenges” (School Rules, p. 515) to maintain the goal to reach academic success. Since all students are different from their home life, religion, and cultural backgrounds, they should know that the classroom is a safe place for their differences to unite. If equal expectations are known, the students should, in turn, be aware of the importance of their hard work, finding solidarity in their success.

As a future educator, the importance of knowledge will be constantly imperative in my classroom. Differences will be celebrated between students; however, the same common goal for all will be the importance of learning. I will constantly recognize the vitality of my teacher-efficacy, and help students find their own sense of efficacy, such as “a belief that they possess the power to make things happen- and teachers like these worked hard to develop that power within” (School Rules, p. 515). This is how the word “power” should be used. It is not a threat, or another word for authority, rather a feeling that a student can achieve any goal and with the help of a teacher, parent, or community, can reach any height.

Teachers are held accountable at all times, and unless they are intentional in all of their actions, some information might be misleading to students. I will be sure to be conscious of my actions and deliberate in the delivery of knowledge. Students can be influenced so easily, and seeing their teachers as sources of information I will be sure to only answer questions that I know the answer to. If the answer is unclear I will wait to answer until I know the correct response. This is another reason teachers can misuse the power of education and knowledge. In School Rules, a concerned parent shares how he was “disturbed by the tremendous influence teachers have over students and the power imbalance that leads youngsters to believe that teachers always know what they’re doing even when they don’t” (p. 523). Every student deserves the best education and accurate distribution of knowledge.


A good education can change a child’s life forever, and if given the chance, they can change the world. It will be my job as a teacher to be involved in my students’ lives, the community, and be a constant role model. When all students are given the chance to be responsible and follow expectations, they are given structure and guidance that they might not receive on an every day basis. I will see that each and every one of my students can succeed and believe in themselves and each other, and see no boundaries, but rather opportunities. They will learn to use the most powerful device of knowledge to the best of their ability, in hopes that they reflect and share their knowledge with others as well.













Delpit, L. (1996). The politics of teaching literate discourse. In W. Ayers and P. Ford (Eds.), City kids, city teachers: Reports from the front row (pp. 194-208). New York: New Press.

Jossey-bass, First name. Bailey, Susan. (2002). Gender in education school rules. : A wiley company.

{LaGravenese} {Richard} (Director). ({2007}) {Freedom Writers} [Motion picture]. {USA}: {Paramount Pictures}.

Poplin, M., & Weeres, J. (1992). Voices from the inside: A report on schooling from inside the classroom. Claremont, CA: Claremont Graduate School, Institute for Education in Transformation.

Sergiovanni, T. (2000). The lifeworld of leadership: Creating culture, community, and personal meaning in our schools. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Steinberg, Stephen. (2001). The ethnic myth new darwinism. Boston: Beacon press.

Wasley, P., Hampel, R., & Clark, R. (1997). Kids and school reform. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Williams, Belinda. Bernard, Bonnie. (2003). Closing the achievement gap. : .

Youtube Evaluation URL

Forthcoming Research

Budget Cuts:


*While proposing this topic, I realized I have a lot more to research than I thought. I am still unclear about a lot of the budgeting, especially the who, what, where and why of it. Since this journal was assigned, I asked my mother (who is a teacher in the Centennial School District) to start forwarding me all of her emails so I can be up to date on current events from the Department of Education and all other aspects related to the teaching world. When I found this article, I began reading the numbers. It is so hard to believe how much money has to be cut from the state’s budget for education when in reality, the students are our future so from my perspective, money should be spent on them so help them be successful. This short article covers areas from elementary to higher education and is only a short overview of what is to come for this next school year. It ends in a proposition to make the budget cut fixed for years after.

2.Rochester Budget Cuts

When the budget is shown in charts, and the graphs that show the drastic plunge in money available for schools, it is scary to say the least. It is, however, nice to see what the money is put into and where money is taken from. Having this document available through the database is important, I think, because people of the community can look at it and see where the funding goes, where money is cut, and even have the ability to disagree if necessary. If change needs to be made, facts need to be within reach to know what change is desired. There is such a tight budget for schools that what little money can be spent must be spent carefully.



This website is actually from a broadcast from Minnesota Public Radio that recognized one of the community resources I listed in Journal 4. For students in impoverished areas, it is sadly fair to assume that some only get meals throughout the school day, so the question then becomes: What happens when they go home for the weekend? This program in the community packs backpacks with food for children and their families for the weekend. Some of the food is donated, and other food is purchased by the organization when they have money in their budget to do so. This is important because it connects the community to the issues within it.


This article is great because it relates the NCLB act with minority students in impoverished areas. It discusses the pressures teachers from these areas are put under, especially since the minority students are expected to do poorly. This bias is common, but with help of Title 1 and other programs that focus on drills to ultimately benefit student’s MCA scores they have been matching scores of that of the majority in the school. Schools that experience an AYP that doesn’t show adequate progression begin to develop more central focus on test taking strategies to help their students receive higher scores on statewide testing.

Assessments (NCLB):


This article discusses the stress put on teachers for the results of the assessments each year placed upon them by the No Child Left Behind Act. The NCLB creates an uneasy feeling for even the best teachers, because in order to be successful, each child has to score a certain number to make the district look like its teachers are doing their jobs. When it comes to children, there is no telling what is going through their minds, and the importance of the assessments could be the last thing on their minds. It is possible that even the brightest child in class can end up with one of the lowest scores, but that could be because she has a dance performance that night and the show could be the only thing she can concentrate on. So many factors can contribute to the results of a single assessment, and other than AYP’s, there isn’t a score to show progress, which should be the most important score of all.


This link correlates failing schools to failing tests scores. I agree with this in a sense; however, failing schools cannot be singled out based on one set of test scores that are taken at the end of the year when students are restless and eager to get out of class and begin their summer vacation. It is understandable that the closer to the end of the school year, the more they will know, but is it the quality or the quantity of the knowledge that is important in these assessments? This article requires payment to read, but so much information was covered in the abstract alone, that it is safe to draw the conclusion linking failing schools solely to poor test scores.

Choice Time

1. Importance of Play

After my first experience in a Kindergarten classroom, I realized that social skills are very important to develop throughout this year of school. One of the easiest ways for them to have social interaction, I observed, was during their free or “choice” time throughout the day. An obvious observation would be that five-year-olds have a very short attention span. When they get a chance during the day to play and interact however they’d like, they develop important social skills. The St. Paul schools want to cut all choice time to leave more time for content from the curriculum, which would be easily defended if the social skills weren’t so prevalent during this time.


This article covers the importance of both sides: giving Kindergarten more responsibilities and harder curriculum, as well as encouraging the vital need of play time for social interaction. Play time and recess can be identified as a stress reliever, especially during the end of the year assessments. Connecting test scores to free time is another way to possibly improve the schools where test scores are falling, instead of increasing in-class time and drill practice.

Positive Reinforcement

According to this article, “Positive reinforcement is a universal principle that is in effect regardless of the age, gender, culture, or disability of a child”. This is very true. When it comes to encouragement and influencing good behavior, there is no better way than to recognize what is being done correctly. During my classroom experience last week, I noticed my cooperating teacher encouraging students by saying things like, “I like the way _____ is reading quietly” instead of pointing out misbehavior, because that would be recognizing it, which is highlighted as an important strategy in this article.

2. Positive Reinforcement Experiment

This research based article was written about an experiment conducted on a deviant 9 year old student. This student constantly disrupted his classmates and was not grasping the content. The experiment was to use positive reinforcements in order to correct his poor behavior and to influence his academics. It was interesting to find that the initial change of enforcers dramatically changed his behavior, and the cycle went in full swing, ending in extinction and according to Pavlov’s studies would now need internal motivation if the behavior was going to stay in tact.

Journal 5: Real Life Learning

As the week comes to a close and I look back to my notes about all of the knowledge I have acquired throughout the duration of this trip, I feel it all starts to connect like a web. I have so many new resources and awareness of things I wouldn’t have understood had I not had this hands on experience. Doing the readings, and looking over the turn around strategies, I can pin point certain instances from the classroom where my classroom teacher used them very well.

When discussing Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, it’s hard not to pay special attention to the students in the classroom that clearly have minimal resources, structure and support at home. Maslow’s theory becomes apparent in the classroom when everyday begins with breakfast. The students have come to learn that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and they were sure to finish everything they had to start the day off right. Growing up in middle to upper-class area and community, we rarely had breakfast in the morning, but in the school I was placed, almost every student in the class ate breakfast each morning. Another thing I realized was the fact that students ate everything they were given and never complained. This concerned me because it was obvious that for some of the students, the meals at school were the only ones they would receive that day.

The communities that surround the schools can truly be the best resource for teachers and students. There are so many programs available for any student if they need it, with people more than willing to help when necessary. With the way the economy is today, many parents are working multiple jobs are aren’t able to be home to help their children as much as I’m sure they wish they could be; this is one more reason the community can be beneficial for students. In any area, with emphasis on urban areas, the more structure students have, the more likely they will be successful.

I noticed how well behaved Ms. T’s Kindergarteners are, and I asked her how she had them so focused. She told me it was a lot of work, but she started right away in the year with a routine, and has followed it all year. She built relationships with every student to gain trust, as well as letting them know what was expected of them in her class. By giving them the responsibilities of expectations, weekly duties, and the structured daily routine, each student has been successful in more ways than one throughout the year.

This experience has been so influential, and being in the classroom has made it so easy to take the readings seriously and be able to apply them to a real classroom setting. I used one turn around strategy this week and knew I was doing it as it was happening, and it was successful. After a short conflict with another student, a child moved to a different table, feeling left out. I decided to have a seat next to him and asked him to read for me. He turned the other way and ignored me. Instead of taking it personally, I simply told him that I was really looking forward to him read, but if he didn’t want to I understood. Then, as I got up to walk away, I told him that if he changed his mind he could come find me. Sure enough, about three minutes later he came up to me and started reading.

Being able to apply new knowledge right away makes it very relevant. All of the text and lecture came to life, and hearing stories about situations cannot prepare you like living in the experiences first hand. This travel study has allowed me to embrace and use new strategies in multiple cases as well as prepare myself for my future.

Journal 4: Community is the Best Resource

Journal 4

  1. Resources in Community

A: Boys and Girls Club of Rochester

Contact: Ellen Hamernik (Director of Organizational Impact). The Boys and Girls Club has three units, and the Unit Directors of each are as follows:

Center Street- Ewell Bryant

North West- Tony Luna

Blooming Prairie- Mary Sherman-Ahrens

The Boys and Girls Club is an active program that helps youth direct their actions into positive ones. They strive to help youth find a “sense of competence, usefulness, belonging and influence” in their homes, schools, and community. This organization is available for children to create a safe and educational environment for them outside of school. The focus is the future of the children that attend, and helps to build character and healthy decision making in the long run.

B: Bright Futures

Contact: Joel Dwine

As scary as it might be, teaching middle school could mean I can potentially encounter some teen pregnancies. Bright Futures is a program for pregnant teens that help support them in both their own health as well as the health of their child. They work with the Olmsted County Public Health Services, and have social workers and nurses there to help. Bright Futures is a support for young mothers when they might not get it anywhere else.

C: Family & Children’s Center- Youth Night Campus

Contact: Arley Armstrong- Coordinator.

The Youth Night Campus is a well-structured treatment program for adolescent youth. If I worked in a middle school, this program would be a potential resource for some students. One of the curriculums used in this program is called T4C (Thinking for a Change). This is an important resource for the teachers of the community because some students cannot learn or create risk for other students being in a regular school system. By entering a treatment center, behavior is the main focus for the students, and they can benefit from an experience that specializes in that area.

D: The Backpack Club

Contact: Susan Wakefield (Executive Director)

The Backpack Club is a program from the Leroy Christian Community Church focusing on helping poverty stricken children. This program started because of the large amount of students on low income reduced lunches, and realizing that the meals given at school might be the only meals the students receive all week, meaning they will be hungry for the duration of the weekend. This program receives donations or uses funding to purchase food for students and families to bring home.

  1. Budget cuts

After having the opportunity to be a part of a staff meeting this week, I learned that new teachers struggle for job security every single day before they earn their tenyer. Students are not the only ones that suffer from budget cuts and lack of updated materials, but teachers might do as well. It was also very powerful to feel the tension shift in the room once the legislature was brought to topic. Although job security is guaranteed for tenyered teachers, they still might have to move locations because of seniority. It honestly makes me scared for my future because of the constant change, but being flexible and willing to change can be the most beneficial trait.

  1. Poverty in Urban Areas

This week has been completely eye opening for me. The struggle for basic needs becomes apparent when looking at the lives of some students that were in the schools in St. Paul. After reading the article about turn around strategies, it stood out to me when Maslow’s hierarchy of needs was drawn to attention. Students can’t learn unless their basic needs are met, and researching places such as The Backpack Club, contribute to the basic needs of the children in schools.

  1.  The Stress of Reading Scores and Comprehension

This time of year is known for stressful assessments for the students and teachers. When it comes to reading, students can vary so drastically in a single classroom because of all variables of diversity. If a student doesn’t speak English at home, they don’t practice the language they speak at home, and although they might be able to read and pronounce a word, they might not be able to comprehend it enough to match it to a picture. If a student can read a book, it doesn’t mean they can understand what the sounds mean. I think it is so important for students to have support in any possible way to not only say the sounds that make up words, but to use curriculum that will also allow them to match words with pictures or activities that make it comprehensible.

  1. Choice Time

Being in a Kindergarten class this week has shown me that students need to have time to move around throughout the day. Children have short attention spans, and if they are sitting too long, they won’t want to learn. There are so many ways to get their brains moving by allowing them to dance or play around for a while and choosing what they want to do. By choosing what they want, they are making their own decisions and practicing social skills, which is crucial in the early years.

  1. Positive Reinforcement

Behavior slips, and calls home for poor behavior are commonly heard about, but recognition of good behavior is not as regular. A call home from a teacher should not have a negative connotation connected to it. When students do exceptional behavior, especially if it isn’t very common for them to do so, they should be encouraged to repeat it. The best way for a student to want to repeat an action is to hear about how great it was the first time.