Getting to “Y”

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Getting to ‘Y’: Youth Bring Meaning to their Youth Risk Behavior Survey

GETTING TO ‘Y’ is an opportunity for students to bring meaning to their own Youth Risk Behavior Survey data.  Through youth leadership, partnerships with adults, action research, and peer and community engagement, participants not only experience personal growth and build their capacity for future civic engagement, but also effect sustainable change in youth behavior, community and school culture.

Since 2008, leadership teams of students and adults from over 70 different Vermont high schools and middle schools have participated in this initiative, which follows an action research model. Teams attend a training day, facilitated by youth and adults, where they learn tools and strategies to organize their own retreat to analyze data, producing a “Student Executive Summary.” This summary includes three strengths, three areas of concern and a preliminary plan of action, based on an exploration of root causes. The teams also learn how to host a community dialogue event to share their executive summary with the school and community and lead meaningful multi-generational discussions.  The teams combine all that they have learned to frame action steps, which the group implements and assesses. Each school receives ongoing coaching and support from UP for Learning throughout the process.

GTY in six easy steps:

1. Attend training
A lead teacher and five to eight student leaders attend project orientation and training.

2. Plan and conduct the Data Analysis Retreat
The core team and a diverse group of 15 to 20 peers they have recruited analyze and interpret the YRBS data for their school or community.

3. Plan and Conduct the Community Dialogue Event
The core team plans and leads a multi-generational discussion, where they share their interpretations of the data with community members, share ideas, get input, and create preliminary action plans.

4. Finalize a Plan of Action and Make it Happen
The core team meets to prioritize next steps, assign tasks, and start making positive changes based on their analysis and discussions.

5. Reflect and Celebrate
Teams celebrate successes and identify lessons learned.

6. Keep it Moving
Action steps can be carried forward into the following school year, and the team can recruit new members to analyze new data as it becomes available.



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