The staff members of CLC are invaluable to the organization; it is their passion, dedication, creativity, and commitment to our mission that make our program a success. In following with our unique, holistic and interdisciplinary method of instruction, the staff continually makes extra efforts to provide hands-on learning experiences for the students.
As part of our arts curriculum, for instance, students recently explored the culinary arts through readings and by creating their own traditional tea parties. Complementing the classroom experiences, CLC staff then took the students to the Winterthur Museum for a private tour, much of it hands-on, and presentations about the tea trade. There, students used their math skills to calculate the length of the voyage to China and what profits they would gain if they were successful.
Based on student input two years ago, CLC implemented a science portion to the curriculum. Due to the ingenuity and creativity of the staff, students have had opportunities to create their own fish using their new knowledge about adaptation features of aquatic animals. Further, staff has used relevant, informative film in the classroom and taken students and their families to visit aquariums. Teachers have even incorporated music into the science curriculum; while listening to the classical piece La Mer (The Sea) by Claude Debussy, students express their interpretations of the music through writings and pictures.
Field trips to the opera and to the theater, made possible by our dedicated staff, allow students to experience literacy outside of the classroom. Activities such as field trips to the aquarium, the opera, and the theater, have often been conducted outside classroom time. Staff members spend many Saturdays and evenings with students to ensure that they have opportunities to develop and use the skills that they learn in the classroom.
Our executive director strives to make CLC a learning haven in all aspects of the organization. She designed CLC's classroom space in such a way as to promote equality among all participants and to foster the sharing of knowledge and learning among students and teachers. In renovating the classroom at CLC's main site, she donated many weekend hours to create a space that is comfortable, clean, warm, attractive, safe, and conducive to learning, something that most students do not enjoy in their own homes.
Our social worker, Ms. Terry Banford, is an asset to our program. Since she is a member of the community that we serve and was a former CLC student, she is able to use her insight and past struggles to better advise our students. Terry tries to ensure that every student who is ready has the chance to take the GED test so that they can accomplish their goals, even if it means driving students to test centers and holding students' children while they take the test. Terry gives her free time to find materials, such as winter coats, attire for job interviews, and blankets so that students will not have to face obstacles that might prevent them from attending class and realizing their goals. Student comments include: "&there's a social worker and her name is Terry. She's a very good person because she helps me work on the computer to do my resume, and her lessons are very interesting; she always has good topics." -Yarmin And, "Terry Banford and my teacher motivate me& For example, Terry Banford to me is this incredibly strong person who never stops giving, no matter how many times I fall she still gives the same 100% to me. I thank God for people like her." -Joseph
Staff motivation extends to the administrative portion of their jobs also; recently, they gave part of a weekend to participate in a board/staff strategic planning retreat under the facilitation of Laura Otten at La Salle's Nonprofit Center. Finally, the staff works tirelessly to develop and implement ideas to increase student retention, improve classroom technology, and expand CLC's services.