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Wednesday, 25 May 2016

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Successful Dropout Prevention

Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program

The IDRA Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program is a research-based, internationally-recognized dropout prevention program that has kept 98 percent of its tutors in school.

“Before I was a tutor, I didn’t care about my education and I had planned to drop out this year. Thanks to the Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program, I know that studying is worthwhile and my grades are getting better.”
– middle school tutor


“The Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program exemplifies IDRA’s asset-based approach. The program is based on the creed that all students are valuable, none is expendable,” stated Dr. María “Cuca” Robledo Montecel. “It has maintained a less than 2 percent dropout rate, which is an incredible legacy.”

The Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program, created by the Intercultural Development Research Association, is an internationally-recognized, cross-age tutoring program with an unusual twist. This dropout prevention program works by identifying junior high and high school students in at-risk situations and enlisting them as tutors for elementary school youngsters who are also struggling in school. Given this role of personal and academic responsibility, the Valued Youth tutors learn self-discipline and develop self-esteem; schools shift to the philosophy and practices of valuing students considered at-risk. Results show that tutors stay in school, have increased academic performance, improved school attendance and advanced to higher education.

“The greatest ‘at-risk’ circumstance students face may be some school’s low, and self-fulfilling, expectations. The Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program works and has proven that all students can succeed. It is part of the solution to assuring that all students are counted and all students count.”
– María “Cuca” Robledo Montecel, Ph.D.,
IDRA President

Since its inception in 1984, the program has kept 33,600 students in school, young people who were previously considered at risk of dropping out. The lives of more than 661,000 children, families and educators have been positively impacted by the program. The program design is based on IDRA research on the dropout issue and school holding power. The program has grown across the United States and has been in Brazil, England and Puerto Rico.

Six Teens Win 2015 Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program National Essay Contest Awards
Six students received prizes in a national competition among participants in the IDRA Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program, a nationally-recognized cross-age tutoring program of the Intercultural Development Research Association. Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program tutors wrote about how the program helped them do better in school and how they had helped their tutees to do better. Agustina García wrote: “I no longer want to be referred to as the student who is a troublemaker and doesn’t seem to care about her education. I want to be looked at as a role model, responsible student, and community leader.’”

TV News Story: IDRA’s Dropout Prevention Tutoring Demonstration
This week, we have been showing how IDRA’s Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program works with a tutoring demonstration in South San Antonio ISD. We have guests from across the country visiting here to find out how to bring the program to their schools. This research-based, internationally-recognized dropout prevention program keeps 98 percent of its tutors in school – students who were once considered at-risk. See the WOAI News 4 San Antonio TV story about the program.

Newspaper Story: South San ISD student mentoring program draws national attention
Here's a really nice story by Francisco Vara-Orta at the San Antonio Express-News who came by to observe IDRA's Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program in action. There are some wonderful photos here too. We're so proud of our South San HS tutors and Kindred Elementary tutees!


Continuities – Lessons for the Future of Education from the IDRA Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program vividly captures seven key lessons for improving the quality of education for all students. In Continuities, readers hear the voices of youth, teachers, family members and program leaders and learn why valuing youth is at the heart of school transformation. Get more information. Available from IDRA or free as a pdf

Radio Show: Lessons from the IDRA Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program
The National Dropout Prevention Center/Network Radio Webcast featured IDRA’s Dr. Linda Cantu. Listen and learn about this assets-based approach to dropout prevention and discover key lessons learned in this award-winning cross-age tutoring program. The webcast site also includes links to the accompanying PowerPoint and other resources.

See news stories about the Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program by Univision for its Es El Momento initiative – In Spanish: El problema de la deserción escolar, and in English: Latinos: group with highest drop-out rates.

Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program Tutor Goes on YouTube to Share His Experience as a Tutor
Kwame’ Weatherall, of the Houston Independent School District , is featured in a YouTube video talking about how the Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program made a difference in his life. He received first place in IDRA’s high school tutor essay contest last year. In his essay, Kwame’ wrote: “Ever since I joined this program, my attitude has changed toward helping people who are in need or struggling… When I see a smile from my tutees, it gives me the sign that I am a great person as a role model and as a growing man.”

Join Our Fellows Networking Web Site
We are looking for former Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program tutors! The Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program has been in existence for 26 years, and we have created a free web site for former tutors to network with each other and to support each other in areas such as getting to college and employment.

Contact IDRA if you or someone you know is a former Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program tutor!








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