The IDRA Valued Youth Partnership is a research-based, internationally-recognized dropout prevention program that has kept 98% of its tutors in school. Created by IDRA, it 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. VYP also transforms students’ socio-emotional learning and relationships with school.
VisionCoders is a new eighth-grade computer science course being developed by IDRA in partnership with Texas A&M University–San Antonio and 12 schools in seven Bexar County school districts. In this course, middle school students who are in at-risk situations will become software designers who create educational games for prekindergarten, kindergarten and first-grade students. This field-initiated, research-based program is funded by the U.S. Department of Education.
Ten high school students from across Texas are providing their insights about equity in education and advocacy. Since our founding 50 years ago, IDRA has remained committed to prioritizing students in our decision-making. We selected these 10 student leaders who formed IDRA’s inaugural 2022 Youth Advisory Board.
IDRA’s Youth Leadership Now is an in-school program where eighth-grade students considered high-need will tutor K-1st grade students. The middle schools also will be mentored by teachers who will help them prepare to transition into high school. IDRA is partnering with Texas Education Service Center (ESC), Region 19 for this project that integrates IDRA’s intergenerational family leadership model, Education CAFE, to engage families and YLN tutors in action equity projects. This field-initiated, research-based program is funded by the U.S. Department of Education and will begin its pilot year in 2023-24.
IDRA works with student advocates to inform our work and to elevate their voices as they call for safe and welcoming schools that prepare them for college and a strong future.
For example, we are supporting a team of high school students studying the state of Mexican American Studies in their area schools. Through this MAS for All youth participatory action research project the students are investigating the status of MAS their school district, targeting teachers and students currently participating in MAS. Also, IDRA’s Youth Advisory Board student research team is leading a mixed-methods YPAR research project to examine the intersections of culturally responsive education and school discipline in Texas public schools.