Community Partner Profile: Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology and Citizen Schools

What is Citizen Schools?

Citizen Schools connects middle school students with the real world and their future career pathways, in partnership with public middle schools in urban communities. What makes Citizen Schools special is their apprenticeship model—semester-long projects that turn kids into young scientists, architects, lawyers, business owners, or cooks that are taught by volunteers that are called Citizen Teachers. Every student they work with gains the skills, access and beliefs that equip them for a great future.

What We Are Doing

Service-Learning Projects:

BFIT students participate in service-learning projects that require them to teach apprenticeships that tie directly to their course curriculum. Apprenticeships are real-world projects related to science, finance, architecture, the arts, fitness, service, media, law and various other topics over the course of 10 weeks. Project examples include:

–          Personnel Management course taught a Starting a Business Apprenticeship

–          Automotive Hybrids course taught a Solar Car Apprenticeship

–          Film and Society course taught a Civic Engagement Apprenticeship

BFIT Dever-McCormack Middle School Students receiving their loan for the Starting a Business Apprenticeship

Citizen Schools can provide pre-written curricula on a variety of topics. This has made it possible for BFIT students to go into the classroom, share their knowledge, and get hands on teaching experience. These apprenticeships are a perfect example of how beneficial the Citizen Schools apprenticeships can be to the middle school students and the apprenticeship teachers. One Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology student said, “I believe I made an impact on the kids. I was a role model. They learned how to stay focused and I taught them how to be confident in themselves and not to be afraid to say the wrong answer or ask questions.” Many BFIT students reflected on their childhood and feeling anxious about learning. They remembered that these types of hands-on learning opportunities we fun and educational. They felt they had improved their public speaking skills and confidence and saw how this will help them in future leadership roles.

College Visits:

BFIT’s middle school college visits have been transformed in to hands-on college explorations. Students come to BFIT for an hour to explore our flagship major, automotive, and some basic subjects that go into each of our majors including circuits and mathematics. These visits focus on providing a college-like experience that allows youth to explore various majors in a college setting.


Kristina Barger


Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology in Partnership with Citizen Schools

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