Official Blog of the Education Exchange Corps

Monday, July 12, 2010

Plans for Monday, July 12

This morning, we will be holding a teachers' conference at Froebel Elementary. We will go over materials classes need, whether children of different skill levels should move up or down grades, and how best to structure our after-school program. Our conference at Jefferson on Friday turned out to be pretty successful, as the volunteer instructors were able to share their teaching tricks with each other.

As this is the second week of the program, we are expecting attendance to increase pretty dramatically--at least, if it will increase, these next few days will be the time for it to happen.

It's also a new experiment day at Froebel Elementary. Today we will be learning how lungs work using soda bottles, rubber bands, and balloons. More on that later.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Summer 2010

Here's what we are doing (and have done) this summer.

Normally, we place college students in summer elementary school classrooms as teaching assistants. That means they help out the teacher any way they can, from putting kids' work up on a bulletin board to running photocopies to helping with lesson plans.

This year, the St. Louis Public Schools, as well as just about every other school district in the area, cut summer school. What was once a 6 week program was reduced to 3 weeks of limited enrollment. So the Education Exchange Corps offered to provide summer programming for an additional 3 weeks--the 3 weeks of summer school and 3 weeks of volunteer-run summer enrichment programs.

From June 14-July 2, our volunteers and interns worked as teaching assistants within the summer school setting at 6 schools:
1) Froebel Elementary
2) Jefferson Elementary
3) Lexington Elementary
4) Gateway Elementary
5) Gateway Michael
6) The International Welcome School

Now, from July 6-July 23, we are staffing two summer enrichment sites, one at Froebel Elementary in the city's south side, and one at Jefferson Elementary, located closer to the north side.

Enrollment has been increasing each day, but so far we have been able to offer intensive instruction in math, reading, and writing to around 80 kids.
What's more, our kids are even participating in performance arts programs. At Jefferson Elementary, COCA is running an arts program for each grade four days a week, while at Froebel Elementary one of our volunteers is running a similar program five days a week.

I have also been personally running a science program at each school. For two days a week per school, I work with the kids to conduct some sort of experiment. So far kids have learned about convection currents and density from a hot/cold water mixing demonstration and have been exposed to the different states of matter and chemical changes through a slime experiment. I will write a separate post about the science lessons to give you all a taste of what is going on in the classrooms.

When the summer programs conclude, I will begin recruiting college students to participate in a part-time service program I will be running throughout the year.

Starting an organization, especially one that addresses a dire need in my community, has been an exciting experience, but two types of moments that occur during the course of our program always hold precedence in my heart over the others. The first is, of course, seeing the kids we work with learn something new and love every moment of it. The second is hearing about the volunteers' experiences after they have had time to reflect a few weeks after the program concludes. The sort of engagement that occurs in the classroom cannot be matched anywhere else, neither for the child who is learning the alphabet, nor for the volunteer teacher who is learning so much about our community, our future, and his or her own self.


Welcome to the official blog of the Education Exchange Corps! We are a non-profit organization serving the local community by placing college students in elementary school classrooms as teaching assistants and instructors. We are currently active in St. Louis, Missouri and we have been working with the St. Louis Public Schools for the past 3 years.

To date, we have placed over 100 college students to work with more than 1000 kids.

In the future, we plan to spread our service model to urban areas throughout the United States.

To learn more about our organization, check out our website at, follow us on Twitter at EduXchangeCorps, or send us an e-mail at

Subsequent posts will focus on the service we are doing in the classroom, so be sure to check back often!

Elad Gross

Executive Director
Education Exchange Corps