HARRIS HEROES

City Year Corps helps D.C. schools improve math scores

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NORTHEAST WASHINGTON, D.C. (WJLA) - At Kelly Miller Middle School, Philip Emeritz always has his red jacket on, letting everyone know he's a City Year Corps member.

City Year is a nonprofit that places corps members like Emeritz in schools that need extra help.

This year, 156 City Year members are divided up amongst 13 D.C. schools. Kelly Miller Middle School has 11 helpers.

"We do this, and we do that, and it's amazing and I'm fired up, and it's just a wonderful experience," Miller says of his work with City Year.

Every day, the Corps members assist in classrooms, provide one-on-one tutoring and run after-school programs.

They target three main things:

"The ABCs are heart of City Year - 'A' is for attendance, 'B' is for behavior and 'C' is for course performance," Emeritz explained.

Emeritz,, whom the students call "Mr. E," helps with seventh-grade math - and he appears to be making a big difference in his students' learning.

"He pushes you forward, to be successful," said Shae-Yonna Mills, 12.

"Before I went to Mr. E, I was struggling with math - and now I got the highest grade in my class," said As'seante Holland, 13.

In fact, several students' grades show improvement.

"The small groups he works with - we tracked their test scores and noticed a difference," said Kwabena Turmaina, a seventh-grade math teacher at Kelly Miller.

That kind of transformation is what City Year is all about.

Last year, 93 percent of Kelly Miller students tutored by Corps members improved their math scores, and 71 percent improved literacy scores.

"City Year has been wonderful in making sure our students receive that individualized attention," said Elke Chen, assistant principal for seventh grade at Kelly Miller.

Mr. E says he's just so glad to be helping in one of his hometown's public schools.

"I've always loved D.C., and wanted to come back and give back to the school system I went through," said Emeritz.

And, his students say they absolutely adore him.

"He helps me out," says 13-year-old As'seante Holland. "He makes me smile."

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