Youth Equity Stewardship (YES) is rooted in arts-based methods that aim to bring the youth perspective, vision, creativity, and passion to the forefront of policy and progress for a 21st century school system. YES has proven effective and influential as a sustainable creative facilitation process for youth to enthusiastically engage in their learning and advocate for culturally responsive learning environments.
Through the 5 Phases of YES, students will gain the skills, training, and empowerment necessary to help recognize educational disparities and become active contributors to bottom-up school improvement efforts.
Justice for All:
Wade Antonio Colwell
“It takes a lot of risk for a student to step forward and start the conversation, but once they start, it’s amazing to see how it grows and progresses.”
—Assistant Principal from Washington
“The YES program helps kids find their voice to make the changes that they want to make in the system. So I feel like it’s almost like a partnership.”
—High School Teacher from Washington
“The space that we create is important. And what I love about YES is that it creates a space where every student thrives, and not just survives.”
—Director of Equity from Washington
“YES has redefined every aspect of what we do. We’ve created a culture where the staff is informed by the students as to what’s working…. It’s been a focal point for us, specifically, to make sure that we’re consistently adapting our practices to meet the needs of the kids we have today, with the staff we have today. YES has been the launching pad for everything else.”
—Highs School Principal from Illinois
“There’s nothing that will keep a group of teachers at a big table more accountable than putting a great student at that table to make sure we don’t drift off and start talking about final exams or about the minutiae of the work. It’s so important to have that student there asking how we’re handling things.”
—High School Teacher from Illinois