At the invitation of principal Emilie Knisley, the Blue Mountain Union YATST Team made a presentation to the school board and community to lead off a public budget information meeting on February 26. Lana, Hannah, Eli, and Nicole showed a PowerPoint to explain YATST, the 4 Rs, and some highlights from their own Blue Mountain survey and data analysis. The presentation was well received, with both board and community members asking questions. The students reflected afterward that the “best part was it was really encouraging to see the board and community both supporting us.”
BMU is in its first year as a YATST school, with a unique structure to support the work of building youth-adult partnership. All BMU students do Senior Exit projects, and four of them—Lana, Hannah, Eli, and Nicole—have chosen to ground their projects in the YATST action research model. Working as a team with teacher Tracy Puffer, they spent first semester surveying teachers and students in grades 9-12, then analyzing data and defining topics for individual projects.
Lana is pursuing master schedule improvements (including a slot for a YATST course), while Hannah has explored personal learning plans and parent-teacher conferences. Nicole is working on student-teacher feedback systems, while Eli investigates the effects of varied teaching techniques, drawing on new brain research, with Ms. Puffer’s cooperation as a research subject.
Linking YATST work to senior projects is a new and promising venture. Blue Mountain Union may point the way for other schools with this kind of program to follow suit.