This summer, CYC sat down with students who left school early to listen and learn from their experiences. Their insights were invaluable as we as an organization—and, going wider, as the educational sector—begin the work of rebuilding after COVID-19.
Colorado Youth for a Change (CYC) will partner with Serve Colorado and the Governor’s Office to recruit, train, and place up to 30 AmeriCorps members in school districts for the 2020-21 school year. Our goal is to keep students engaged and connected during COVID-19. The redeployed members who we are naming the Student Engagement Corps will outreach to students across the state who have disengaged from school. Indicators of disengagement include chronic absences; lack of participation in remote, hybrid, and/or in-person learning; lack of communication from families; and/or falling off track academically.
The COVID-19 pandemic poses a serious threat to the academic success of thousands of Colorado students. Experts are calling it “the hurt that could last a lifetime” and dropout rates are predicted to increase by 2 to 9 percent (McKinsey & Company, 2020). The National Dropout Prevention Center has confirmed that school disruptions are a new dropout risk factor with far-reaching implications. The Colorado Department of Education is advocating that school districts collaborate with community organizations like CYC to fill gaps in school resources and ensure that vulnerable students do not disconnect from school permanently.
“The Student Engagement Corps program serves students who are experiencing increased barriers during COVID-19, including increased household and financial instability, disruptions in access to basic needs (e.g. food, healthcare), loss of the structure, social emotional supports, and connection to caring adults that schools provide, language and technological barriers, and mental health and safety concerns. Additionally, these barriers are disproportionately affecting students of color and students from under resourced families. We’re thrilled to partner with districts across Colorado to support students and families in this time of increased need.” Mary Zanotti, CEO of Colorado Youth for a Change
If you’re a school district interested in partnering, or if you’d like to provide financial support for this project, please email email@example.com or visit https://youthforachange.org/donate .
To read about other reengagement resources during a time of COVID-19, click here for an article from the National League of Cities that also mentions Colorado Youth for a Change.