Bain and Citizen Schools – expanding learning time

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Citizen Schools is a nonprofit that provides expanded learning time.  They extend the learning day for students in underperforming middle schools because additional classroom time is shown to improve graduation rates, test scores, and college enrollment rates.

Bain and Citizen Schools have a strategic partnership where Bain works with Citizen Schools across many dimensions.  Bain offers pro-bono case work and strategic advisory along with capability and skill transfers to Citizen Schools.  Bainies are dedicated to providing this type of “in-kind” support, but we also get involved with Citizen Schools’ day-to-day business – teaching kids.

One of the programs that is core to Citizen School’s model of expanded learning time is called an “apprenticeship” – a class taught after school by a community member once a week for 10 weeks.  A group of 12 Boston Bainies authored and taught a new apprenticeship this past school year about Innovation and Entrepreneurship.  This after school curriculum taught kids at the Edwards Middle School in Charlestown about the process of starting a new business, and how to put together a business proposal.

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At the end of the program, 11 students from the Edwards Middle School came to the Bain office for the WOW! event to pitch start-up ideas as the final project in their 10-week apprenticeship called Building a Business with Bain.  These future consultants were asked to design businesses that would make money and be good for the world, and they nailed it!

They took turns explaining their business ideas for “Taco Mania” and “Super TV Bus”.  Students introduced their business idea, shared their vision, product description, market analysis, management and structure, and financial analysis.  Taco Mania was designed to be a family dining experience with babysitting to help families enjoy eating out together.  Super TV Bus installed TVs in the back of every seat on the school bus; it was designed to help kids stop fighting on the busses and be more incentivized to get to school on time.  At the end of the presentation, the students answered questions about their apprenticeship experience and their thought process for developing these business ideas.

Once students had answered all the audience’s questions, the Judges Panel, made up of Bain managers and partners, passed out awards.  Over 25 Bainies and representatives from Citizen Schools attended the presentation to support the kids.

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We asked students to think back over the 10-week apprenticeship and tell us what they liked the most.  The biggest highlight of the apprenticeship for students was undoubtedly a field trip to visit a local candy store owner.  Students got to meet with this entrepreneur, tour her store and wonderful selection of old-fashioned homemade candies, and learn about her story.   The students also loved the ability to get creative and come up with their own business solutions to real problems that they had experienced in their own lives.  For the Bainies and Citizen Schools representatives in attendance, it was very exciting to see these kids feeling empowered to change the world around them, rather than accept the status quo.

The apprenticeship program was so successful that Citizen Schools plans to teach it to other classes as well.  Special thanks to the Bainies who wrote the curriculum, provided teaching support in the classroom and coordinated the apprenticeship program and final WOW! event.

– Hannah, Senior Associate Consultant, Boston

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