UP for Learning has been working with Monument Mountain Regional School in Great Barrington, Massachusetts on a three-year initiative to build and strengthen a culture of youth voice and youth/adult partnership. The school has a robust Youth and Adults Transforming Schools Together (YATST) team, and their focus has been on communication within the school so that everyone in the community can be better aware of events, opportunities, and resources. This need was compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, when new obstacles and challenges to communication were arising every day.
Using Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR), the team worked together to research, identify, and adopt an app called ParentSquare, where users can find important information about the school’s happenings, as well as communicate with each other.
Another initiative was to create a Student Advisory Board that includes one member from each of Monument Mountain’s 52 teaching advisories. The board works together to plan and prepare for bimonthly sessions, and have created different subcommittees focused on four topics: social and mental health, program changes, school climate and culture, and communication and participation.
Each group uses a 60 day design cycle to identify concerns, brainstorm and propose actions, implement and receive feedback, and then refine. The YATST team at Monument Mountain is thriving, with a growing number of passionate and caring youth and adults coming to the meetings and getting involved!