The mission of YATST is to “increase student engagement in learning and voice in decision-making by creating a partnership among students, faculty and the community to increase rigor, relevance, relationships and shared responsibility.” The YATST “Best Practices and Self-Assessment Tool” was designed to provide both an overview of the YATST vision and a roadmap for the journey.
This document is structured according to the “4Rs”, Rigor, Relevance, Relationships and shared Responsibility, which serve as guiding tenets for increasing engagement in learning. The fifth Best Practices rubric (on page 11) outlines key elements of a school’s readiness to embrace YATST work. It also charts the way youth involvement in increasing engagement with learning through action research becomes part of the decision-making fabric of the school. This is the ultimate goal of YATST.
This tool is designed to:
- Paint a picture of a transformed school, with examples of each R in the ”Setting Out,” “Transforming,” and “Destination” stages
- Provoke dialogue about the present state of the “4Rs” in your school
- Build a common vision for school transformation in your community
- Raise differing perspectives on these variables
- Prompt understanding of some of the steps which can be taken to impact the “4 Rs”
- Highlight how strategies can be tracked by evidence of change
This document should help to create a vision of your ultimate goal, so that incremental steps to reach this end point make sense. It may well also serve as the first of many deep and meaningful discussions about school change.
The YATST “Best Practices and Self-Assessment Tool” was inspired and informed by the New England Secondary School Consortium “Global Best Practices: An Internationally Benchmarked Self-Assessment Tool for Secondary Learning”. Their exemplary work in high school transformation includes many other benchmarks relative to: equity, personalization/relevance, academic expectations, standards-based education, assessment practices, international/multi-cultural, technology, learning communities, vision mission/action plan, school culture, multiple pathways, transitions, interventions/support, time/space, data systems/applications, continual improvement, teacher recruitment & retention, administrative leadership, shared leadership, moral courage. This document can be accessed at: http://www.newenglandssc.org/resources/publications.