Since the Youth Voices Convening, much of the Student Success initiative work has is happening in our local communities. Teams of people have seen and absorbed the Youth Voice survey data. They’ve identified gaps and are taking action. In doing so, relationships are strengthening, new relationships are beginning, and the Itasca area is moving closer to its aspiration that all young people have the supports they need to ensure a healthy future.

That local view is powerful. Looked at together, as when the initiative shared this snapshot of Student Success work with a recent meeting of the IASC superintendents, these local activities add up to good progress toward that goal.

Change is happening, for kids. With kids. For a better Itasca area.

Governance Council

The 12-member governance council was established in January, and is currently developing processes for working together effectively. The group’s purpose:  To lead, inspire, embolden and engage with community partners to ensure dedication and effective collaboration toward continuous advancement of the Pathway to Student Success. In time, the council will serve as the voice of the initiative, taking responsibility for overall strategic direction, responding to the local community.

Itasca Networks for Youth

This network of Out-of-School time providers has begun identifying ways their programs can better build relationships with youth.  Utilizing a continuous improvement process, members are learning how to use data collected in their programs to measure success in their efforts.  The continuous improvement approach is in partnership with the Search Institute and includes learning from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.  Chad Evans from the Deer River Boys and Girls Club is a key leader in this effort.

Social Studies Curriculum

A social studies curriculum development workshop for high school teachers is set for June 2.  As part of this training, the Search Institute will present a two-hour session on how teachers can incorporate interpretation of the Youth Voice survey data.

Teens from the Deer River area came together for a day of analyzing their data and planning for action the based on what they are learning.

Teens from the Deer River area came together for a day of analyzing their data and planning for action the based on what they are learning.

Deer River High School

In February and March, students in Deer River planned and co-facilitated an action planning workshop attended by 12 of their peers. The outcome: a “Sports for All Sorts” monthly open gym time for the whole community, a spark of an idea that ignited after looking at the Youth Voice Survey data, specifically focused on meaningful connections to the community.

Grand Rapids High School

The Hope Club, which works on anti-bulllying and mental health awareness issues, dedicated one entire meeting to the “Feels Accepted” portion of the Youth Voice survey data, especially the drop-off ninth graders had in feeling accepted. They will hold an in-depth planning session later this spring to brainstorm initiatives the club can implement that will focus on ninth graders.

Rotary Interact Club

In late March this Grand Rapids high school group reviewed Youth Voice data and focused in on three areas of interest:

  • Meaningful connections to community
  • Develop skills to live, work and thrive in an ever changing world, and
  • Technology and the skills necessary to use it to achieve goals.

As a next step, the group will participate in an action planning process this week that will narrow their focus, identify a project and create a timeline for getting it done.

SS Youth Voice meaningfull conns results graphic

Communities throughout the Itasca area, including those served by the Greenway school district, are diving into the details of the Youth Voice survey and planning actions like Greenway Jam based on the results.

Greenway High School

A group of Greenway students generated ideas on how they could bring more meaningful connections to the community to students during school time. At a daylong planning session, they decided to bring back “Greenway Jam Day” – one day event during the school year when community members would be invited to share their skills and talents with the students. Students proposed their idea to the school board in April.

Northland Community School

In Remer, Kelly Felton (with the Working Together Coalition) is working alongside students as they complete an action-planning process. A diverse pool of 7th-12th graders that acts as a student council, the group is exploring ways to make policy changes within the school, focused on consistency of school-policy implementation practices.

Northern Lights Community School

Students at Northern Lights have looked at the Youth Voice data and decided to take action on the Pathway aspiration, “Every student will have access to high quality out-of-school programs and activities.” In April the student council hosted a community meeting planned and facilitated by the students to discuss types of activities students would like to pursue. About 30 students and community members attended. As a next step, the student council will take the input and ideas from the meeting, feed them back to the student body and ask them to decide which activity/activities to pursue first.