At the core of Youth on Board’s work are our unique partnerships with the Boston Public Schools (BPS) district and independent youth advocates throughout the city. Our overarching goal is to have youth engagement interwoven into the structure of schools, thus encouraging a cultural shift that creates respectful and mutually supportive learning communities both inside and outside of the classroom.
In addition to our work with BPS, we are involved in several local and national projects. The local groups are student-led, student-centered groups that work to ensure that young people have a real voice in their education and in the policies that affect them the most. For our projects beyond Boston, we utilize what we have learned on the local level and bring it to the national level.
Youth on Board co-administers the Boston Student Advisory Council (BSAC) with the Office of Engagement of the Boston Public Schools. BSAC is a citywide body of elected student leaders representing most BPS high schools. BSAC works to identify and address pertinent student issues, thereby putting students at the center of the decisions that affect them the most. BSAC students have led organizing efforts, forged relationships with district and city-leaders, impacted policy change, and transformed school culture across the board.
ListeningWorks is our national effort to equip movement builders with tools for individual, systemic and historical healing that allow them to build resistance within their organizations, so as to not burnout. This also allows movement builders to lead the way for deep healing across the communities they serve, so as to promote less resistance to working across generations, building relationships and turning on each other. The second step of our the training is using those skills to go out into the community and listen through a variety of tactics, including Listening Projects, Deep Canvassing, and Door Knocking.
Youth on Board and BSAC were recognized as one of eight youth programs nationally to demonstrate exceptional social emotional learning practices by the Susan Crown Exchange. As partners in the Social and Emotional Learning Challenge, Youth on Board collaborated with researchers to distill and codify SEL best practices. Youth on Board is thrilled to be selected from 250 programs to participate in the 18-month long collaboration. Find the SEL Field Guide and more at www.selpractices.org
Student rights in school? There's an app for that! Youth on Board assisted BSAC in the development of a student-centered app that educates students, parents, and teachers about student rights under the Boston Public Schools Code of Conduct and other applicable district policies and state laws. The app features a reporting function so that students can receive help when the Code has not been implemented properly. Check it out at www.bostonstudentrights.org.
Youth on Board, with the generous support of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, is building a movement across the country to promote student voice and strengthen student teacher relationships in the classroom in an effort to create supportive, equitable, and student-centered school environments. The campaign will seek to transform the way schools and districts view the voices and expertise of young people and their ability to contribute to improve the classroom experience and to support the movement for educational equity and social justice.
The National Action Civics Collaborative was founded in 2010 by Youth on Board and five other community-, school- and university-based organizations concerned about how low income youth are acquiring the motivation, skills, knowledge and behaviors necessary for constructive civic and political participation. NACC aims to promote and expand the practice of Action Civics within the education reform movement and demonstrate the effectiveness of Action Civics in increasing civic knowledge, skills, and motivation.
Students from the Boston Student Advisory Council and dedicated science teachers have worked together to create a framework of lessons to incorporate essential concepts about Climate Change into K-12 science lessons. This is a partnership between people in the Boston Public Schools that care about Climate Change and want to develop a curriculum to help current and future students learn more about how our planet is changing.