This post, is in response to an article about Urban Prep Charter Academy, which I read about on one of my all-time favorite resources, edutopia.org. At Urban Prep Charter Academy they created Pride Advisories in order to provide social and emotional support for their students. Read the entire article about how they moved from a loose to more structured strategy and what they've learned in doing so.
It is a timely follow up to the piece I wrote two weeks ago about strategies for recruiting and retaining youth, which focuses largely on meeting their developmental needs as a key strategy. This article also offers some additional ideas that I get excited about in my work!
Below are the key ingredients of how they support youth socially and emotionally and things that you can do in your youth program or school.
The power of positive relationships with adults; each youth is supported by a Pride Advisor who stays with them over an extended period of time. This, above almost all else than we do to help youth be resilient and succeed in reaching their goals is key.
Meeting youth's developmental needs grade by grade; topics are based on where youth are at in their development and also where they are going so you can set them up for successful transitions throughout their development. You can see they very intentionally mapped out the topics they plan to cover with youth.
Not leaving anything to chance; They moved from a loosely structured advisory to something that is purposful, designed and structured, which increases the chances that you will meet your goals and better sets youth and instructors up for success.
Including youth voice; At Urban Prep Academy, they view youth as partners and in doing so, adults are contributing to the development of youth's critical voice. Youth are invited to share with the school what worked and didn't work about the curriculum, their courses, etc.
Structure provides safety; the staff have created a format to create structure and predictability within their discussions: "an essential question, a do-now, and an exit ticket."
Drawing from best practices and tailoring them to meet their needs; They found some evidenced-based research that was helpful, but didn't full meet the needs of their young men, s they have been modifying based on what they know about the needs of their students. This further highlights the need to be intentional about what you are doing and making adjustments as needed.
Engaging activities as a way towards and through difficult discussions; staff is aware that some of these topics can be sensitive and difficult to talk about so they create activities that help initiate discussion and when appropriate, they share how they them self have dealt with the topic.
Want to learn more about the power of relationships? The Search Institute's Developmental Relationship Framework lays out exactly how to create powerful, support relationships between adults and youth. Contact me about how I can help you and your staff integrate this framework into your program.