Good news: Building supportive classrooms with youth voice

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Young people’s voices shaping supportive educational communities

It’s a new school year and we are working at full-speed to help educators create positive learning environments for all students—see the highlights from YC below.

Elevating youth voices to build inclusive classrooms

Who’s In My Classroom? is a must-read for teachers and more importantly for any professional who is trying to figure out what it means to create equitable, engaging learning environments that allow young people to be their full selves…”

— Karen Pittman, 
Co-Founder and Senior Fellow,
The Forum for Youth Investment
 
 
 
 
 
 
This fall, Tim Fredrick, our senior director of education, collaborated with Gess Leblanc, a professor at Hunter College’s School of Education, to publish Who’s In My Classroom? Building Developmentally and Culturally Responsive School Communities. This book uses true stories by 67 Youth Communication teen writers to bring to life best teaching practices around race, gender, trauma, student engagement, and more. It offers concrete suggestions— grounded in research and student experiences—that educators can follow to build more just, compassionate, and effective schools and programs.
 

Helping teachers form strong relationships through SEL curricula that center young people’s experiences

This year, our professional development partnerships helped over 500 educators strengthen the social and emotional learning (SEL) skills of thousands of young people in their schools and programs.
We rolled out three new SEL curricula and teacher development programs (pictured above) all based on YC’s powerful stories by teens who describe how they manage challenges. Real Talk covers gender identity/relationships, Between You and Me covers self-management/relationships skills, and Stay the Course covers decision-making.
 

Current and former teen writers named finalists in prestigious awards

Former YC writer Desiree Bailey is a National Book Award finalist in the poetry category for What Noise Against the Cane. Her poems explore the Haitian Revolution and “political resistance, Caribbean folklore, immigration, and the realities of Black life in America.”

 

Teen writer K.G.’s story, “Interventions Helpful and Not” is a finalist for the Media for a Just Society award. The annual award honors media that excel in illustrating our social systems’ current realities or the promise of reform. The national awards are presented by Evident Change (formerly the National Council on Crime and Delinquency).

Summer writers publish new stories on racism, to be shared with tens of thousands of readers

Twelve teen writers in our 42nd Annual Summer Writing Workshop met to focus on a timely theme: racism in the U.S. With guidance from their editors, they wrote stories and had rich discussions about their lived experiences and the issues they face. The writers interviewed Meisha Porter, the new New York City schools chancellor (pictured above) about how to create more inclusive schools. We look forward to sharing their stories with tens of thousands of readers this year. Their voices shed light on the way racism and inequality affect young people’s educational aspirations and opportunities. 
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