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Frequently Asked Questions

General AmeriCorps Info

What is AmeriCorps?
What is a living allowance?
What is the education award?
Am I able to have an additional (part-time) job or attend school while serving?
Do I get to take vacation or sick time?
 

CoL Member Training & Development

When will training begin?
What happens during orientation?
I can’t make it to a few days of orientation. Is that okay?
What kind of training will I receive throughout the year?
Will training provide me with everything I need to know to be successful in my service?
 

CoL Member Service & Support

Where will I be assigned to serve?
What will I be doing the first few weeks on site?
What kind of support will I receive from the program throughout my year of service?
What kind of support will I receive from my site?

 

 

General AmeriCorps Info

What is AmeriCorps?

AmeriCorps is a national service program where individuals serve in community organizations to address critical community needs in education, public safety, health, and the environment. AmeriCorps is often compared to the Peace Corps as its domestic counterpart. For more information, please visit the AmeriCorps website at www.americorps.gov.

What is a living allowance?

The AmeriCorps living allowance is the financial support provided to service members during their year of service. Full time AmeriCorps service members serve 1700 hours during a 12 month period and receive a living allowance of $12,530. Part time AmeriCorps service members serve 900 hours during a 12 month period and receive a living allowance of $6,265.

What is the education award?

AmeriCorps members receive an education award upon successful completion of their term of service. The education award can be used to repay qualified student loans or for future education expenses. Additionally, AmeriCorps members may postpone their federal student loan payments during the term of service. For more information on the AmeriCorps education award and loan forbearance visit the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award website.

Am I able to have an additional (part-time) job or attend school while serving?

AmeriCorps allows members to hold another job or attend school during their term of service. Additional jobs and coursework must not interfere with the commitments of a City of Lakes AmeriCorps term of service, and full time service members are generally limited to part time employment or education.

Do I get to take vacation or sick time?

AmeriCorps members are not granted specific holiday leave or a set amount of personal leave. City of Lakes AmeriCorps members may follow the holiday and break schedule of the Minneapolis Public Schools and take time off when school is not in session. Similarly, there is no set amount of sick time an AmeriCorps member can take; however, sick time should be kept to a minimum and taken only when absolutely needed. It is the responsibility of each member to ensure that taking time off for illness or personal leave will not affect their service obligations or their ability to complete their service hours by the end of their term of service.

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CoL Member Training & Development 

When will training begin?

Orientation for full-time City of Lakes tutors begins August 14th, 2017; orientation for part-time City of Lakes youth workers begins August 28th, 2017. Training days will run Monday thru Friday, generally from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. After orientation, trainings will mainly take place on Fridays throughout the school year. There will also be one overnight stay (Thursday to Friday) for our teambuilding retreat in September. 

What happens during orientation?

Throughout orientation, members engage in a variety of teambuilding and skill-based trainings, both at our program headquarters and at their respective school sites. Orientation is designed to give you the big picture of national service and an overview of Long-Term English Learners and your role as a City of Lakes member. You will also meet your cohort, get to know each other and begin to work together as a team. You will leave Orientation with an understanding of intentional interactions and prepared to start building positive relationships with your students, teachers and site supervisors.

I can’t make it to a few days of orientation. Is that okay?

Orientation is a critical component of the City of Lakes AmeriCorps program and is key to establishing a highly effective community. To that end, all members must attend the entire pre-service orientation.

What kind of training will I receive throughout the year?

Full-time members meet weekly on Wednesday afternoons from 3 to 6 p.m. while part-time members will meet every other Friday afternoon for training throughout the year. Instructional strategy training begins at the start of the school year and continues through early to mid-November.  During these early Corps Days, members learn the skills needed to perform their service responsibilities. As the year goes on, these training times will be responsive to member requests and other AmeriCorps required trainings. 

Beginning in October, all members also come together for one monthly Corps Days. These are designed to be responsive to member needs, to provide support and to deepen member experience through reflection. We believe well-designed reflective activities allow members to acquire a deeper understanding of the world around them and how they can make positive contributions to society well beyond their year of service. In addition, a broad transferrable skill-set is developed through civic reflection trainings and discussions, including critical thinking and analysis, active listening and facilitation skills. Group reflection and process is a cornerstone of the City of Lakes experience and challenges members to take ownership of their learning and to constructively contribute to the learning of their fellow members.

Will training provide me with everything I need to know to be successful in my service?

No! Training gives you a place to start. However, in addition to specific trainings around core instructional, mentoring and youth development skills, the City of Lakes program offers members an apprentice experience where learning and growth occurs “on the job”.  We place high value on practice as the primary means to develop.  Members have ongoing opportunities to practice, reflect and improve until essential instructional and mentoring techniques become second nature. Successful members are comfortable with not knowing, are resourceful and adept at problem solving, and can take initiative and aren’t afraid to ask for help when needed.
 

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CoL Member Service & Support

Where will I be assigned to serve?

City of Lakes AmeriCorps applicants who excel in their interview will be invited to under the site placement process. All of our school sites are unique and offer different opportunities and experiences for members, so the City of Lakes staff will be paying particular attention to each applicant’s individual skills and abilities in order to determine the best possible site placement. Applicants will be provided with one to three options for placement and will then undergo any next steps required by the site (typically a follow-up phone interview  or in-person school visit with a site supervisor). When a site determines an applicant is a good fit, positions are officially offered.

 

What will I be doing the first few weeks on site?

Because relationships are at the heart of our program, the first few weeks on site are devoted to building positive relationships with students, staff and teachers.  Successful members establish themselves early as professional, reliable, flexible youth-centered assets ready to contribute to the school community. Examples of what members may do during the first couple of weeks includes; welcoming students, helping students find their lockers and classrooms, attending staff meetings, bus duty, lunch duty, and getting to know caseload students. 

 

What kind of support will I receive from the program throughout my year of service?

The City of Lakes staff includes two Youth Development Specialists and a Special Education Teacher who serve as the most critical line of support as members implement strategies from skill-building sessions with their students.

One City of Lakes staff serves as a Site Lead for each school where members serve, providing a clear communication path between members, school staff and the City of Lakes Program.  Site Leads provide ongoing support to members via cluster meetings, advocacy and consultations.

In addition, City of Lakes and on-site staff regularly observe members in the classroom and during tutoring sessions, providing real-time, individualized feedback to dramatically improve their practice. Staff model techniques for members in tutoring sessions with students, and cue members actively during their tutoring to support real time improvement. Members and Staff debrief and discuss concrete strategies for success in future lessons. Staff may also pull members into targeted responsive coaching sessions to address their priority development needs so that they are providing the highest-quality academic support.

 

What kind of support will I receive from my site?

Each cluster is assigned at least two site supervisors from his/her school, typically one ESL Teacher, and one Community School Coordinator. Site Supervisors and members work as a team to implement our services, target the essential areas for improvement and develop strategies and solutions that will maximize benefit to students.

In addition, most members serve with 2 to 5 other CoL members at a site, called a cluster. Members rely on their clustermates as an essential resource throughout their service year. They share resources, lesson plans, best practices, field trip opportunities, and professional development opportunities with each other to benefit their students.

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