The IDRA Valued Youth Partnership has provided leadership experiences for students all over the country during the past 35 years. It increases student’s connectedness, academic achievement, self-efficacy and self-esteem by placing students in leadership positions. The program consistently improves socio-emotional skills through the cross-age tutoring component.
During this time of uncertainty, social-distancing and economic adversity the Valued Youth Partnership’s key component of valuing youth’s gifts and burgeoning social skills can provide leadership experiences as schools adapt.
We recognize that the coming year presents new challenges to educators. Schools across the nation are considering different ways to carry out professional development, out of school time programs, service-learning opportunities and community service programs, which are all part of our educational system’s daily rhythm. Schools responded to this situation at lightning speed. Overnight, schools have become hubs of technological innovation to deliver quality and equitable education to all our students through a variety of platforms, like Zoom, Google Classroom, Webex, etc. We have all adjusted to create safe, efficient online environments for our students.
When schools closed their buildings this spring, IDRA immediately responded by developing resources for educators and families to continue student learning, called Learning Goes On – A COVID-19 Resource for Education. These resources include the Equitable Practices for Online Learning Free Webinar Series, a bilingual weekly electronic newsletter with resources for schools and families responding to the pandemic, policy updates, and links to important research and resources.
IDRA is taking similar steps to implement modifications to the program suited to each schools’ requirements and available tools. As we move to adapt the IDRA Valued Youth Partnership to the new context, the program stands ready to apply modifications as needed by each school district’s requirements and needs.
Depending on social distancing rules and new procedures that may be implemented in your school district for this fall, IDRA will support participating campuses to create asynchronous online tutoring support between VYP tutors and tutees. We are creating resources, new processes and online roles for our sites. The centerpiece will always remain to create leadership experiences for our tutors. Adjusted program objectives are outlined on the following page. These modifications will provide important leadership opportunities during this time. They are subject to review and approval given each district’s capacity, guidelines and available technology.
Re-entry during the COVID-19 event will be challenging. Many of our students have suffered trauma and great hardship that will affect their emotional well-being.
When students return to school after this extended time away, it will be more important than ever to strengthen the school-family-community dynamic in order to reconnect with students, especially those that have been harder to reach during this time of distance learning. We stand by the IDRA Valued Youth Partnership as a program that can help our students in at-risk situations as they return to school. The program’s central tenet that values all of our students and places them in leadership positions will create a welcoming atmosphere for tutors and their young tutees.
To increase their positive leadership development, tutors will create technology products that promote literacy and numeracy development of PK-1 tutees.
To increase their positive social-emotional development, tutors will complete online versions of the Valued Youth Partnership Tutor Workbook.
To increase their positive leadership development, tutors and IDRA will collaborate with PK-1 teachers on addressing technology challenges in a remote learning environment.
* Semillitas de Aprendizaje is an IDRA developed set of bilingual early childhood materials. Each story of the theme-based supplemental curriculum encourages the richness of language and print. It is designed to help early childhood teachers and parents encourage communication and language exploration through literature discussions in both Spanish and English.