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High School Students: One size doesn’t fit all…

October 25, 2014

 

For seven years I ran youth development program at a high school that I had the honor (and challenge!) of starting from scratch. It was by far one of the most rewarding jobs I’ve ever had. I did a LOT of on the job learning from, and with, my students. Here’s what I came to know that helped me to design high quality, engaging and age-appropriate activities for teens.

 

High school students come to our programs for various reasons and they utilize our program in accordance to their developmental needs. This means that we need to develop activities, supports, etc. that intentionally meet those needs, and making sure that staff is adequately trained and supported to meet those needs.

 

 

 

Here are few tips that I’m excited to share with you, which you can use to design your High School Out-of-School Time (OST) programs:

 

Ways OST program can support 9th graders making the transition to HS. This includes:

  • Developing new friendships (have a buddy or big bro/sister program with older/experienced youth in the OST; workshops on peer pressure, bullying etc.)

  • Developing study & time management skills (offer workshops, games like Minute to Win It, Jeopardy, etc.)

  • Understanding how to ‘be’ a HS student (what classes to take, how to read transcripts through workshops, etc.)

  • Lots of exposure activities (that also involve making new friends-trips, movies, guest speakers, etc.)

Ways OST programs can support 10th graders by helping them to build their friendships, explore their identity and other life skis and start to expand their networks towards post-HS goals-college/career. This includes:

  • Health & wellness & sexuality activities (Sept-Dec)

  • Identity exploration through guest speakers (Sept-Dec)

  • Prep for 1st summer job (Jan-June) (bring a nurse on campus to expedite work papers, etc.)

  • Help them develop skills and experiences that will prep them for work including Civic engagement activities/PBLs

  • Offer PSAT classes

Ways OST programs can support 11th graders by focusing on college and career exploration via work-readiness clubs, leadership opportunities (this could be the big bro/sister program) and internships; continue with civic engagement activities

  • Career panels (fall)

  • Career days (fall)

  • Develop a workshop on a fave topic for younger youth (spring)

  • Developing career –related documents (cover letter, resume, etc) (spring)

  • Start College tours/hold college spirit days, etc. (spring)

  • College essay writing workshops/games/contests, etc. (spring)

  • Offer SAT classes (fall & spring)

Ways OST programs can support 12th graders by zooming in on the college prep and post HS process

  • College tours (fall)

  • College panelists (fall)

  • Essay writing workshops/games/contests, etc. (fall)

  • “Now that you’ve been accepted to college” workshops also: getting along with roommates, developing resistance skills (avoiding peer pressure for drinking, sex, etc.), how to avoid using all your meal plan points in one week, etc. (spring)

 

You are welcome to download this information and use to help guide the development of your high school programming. Also, let me know: How do YOU design programs to intentionally meet the developmental needs of young people?

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