What do great schools and schools with successful drop out prevention programs have in common ?
Compare Newsweek's What Makes a High School Great? with American Youth Policy Forum's What Ever It Takes. The common thread? Action Pathways & Civic Engagement.
One of the 12 AYPF sites, located in Oakland California is The East Bay Conservation Corps. EBCC is a multi-program, nonprofit, youth-serving educational organization. Founder and Executive Director Joanna Lennon, a nationally-recognized leader in education reform and service, attributes their success to --the empowerment of young people to be well-educated and engaged citizens, people who make a positive difference in more than just their own lives, but in the lives of those around them.
The EBCC mission is "based on the fundamental belief that an educated citizenry is the cornerstone of a healthy democracy." Through school and community-based programs, we prepare young people for civic participation by improving their academic skills and knowledge, increasing their sense of civic and environmental responsibility, fostering their sense of caring toward others, and building their capacity to improve their own lives.
The AYPF report, What Ever It Takes, details 12 similar drop out prevention programs across the country with similar themes - youth empowerment, youth action pathways; service-learning and civic engagement. Looking for proven successful strategies? Take the time to read What Ever It Takes.
If you're looking for new tools to measure civic outcomes check out June 2006 issue of Around the Circle, a publication by the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE).
-Heather, National Service-Learning Partnership