Student Engagement

YDN supported – 170 students and staff from two regional school districts in 2014. YDN believes in the power of building emotional, safe, caring and consistent relationships for new students. This is why we design and facilitate leadership programs and orientations that build comfort for students at the beginning of the school year, and help young people form connections with other students and staff.

In 2014 YDN provided students, administrative staff and teachers of the Twin Rivers Unified School District, Pioneer High School (Woodland, CA) and Encina High School (San Juan Unified School District) through training and coaching focused on strengthening student leadership and peer support programs. Focus topics in 2014 included: Research and Evaluation Strategies, Using Strengths & Talents for Success, Peer Mentoring, Conflict Medication and 21st Century Skill Building.


Peer Conflict Mediation and Peer Mentoring:

YDN served Encina High School and Pioneer High School –impacting 50 students — Participants learned practical skills that reduce and mediate conflicts within the classroom, school or program (active listening, paraphrasing, I-messages, triggers, etc.), examine conflict mediation models, including peer conflict mediation programs.

Youth Listening Circles:

Listening circles are a means of creating effective dialogue forums for youth to share their experiences, thoughts and ideas around the topic of school climate. The primary facilitation method YDN uses is commonly known as “student fishbowls” or “listening circles”. The listening circle format optimizes the listening of key stakeholders as they pay close attention to the experiences, feelings and perspectives of a targeted group of students. YDN strives to create a sense of equality and positive direction by asking effective questions that capture the reality of the current school climate as well as the dominant ideas youth have to strengthen the school climates of tomorrow.

In 2014 three schools and organizations engaged 215 of their youth and staff through a listening circle forum, which brings into the coaching arena specific areas of focus that include perspectives from traditionally under-engaged students and foster youth. Using the data learned from this process, the focus and action plans generated have proven to be effective in making the desired changes within the classrooms and programs.

Student Leadership 21st Century Youth Skill Building Session:

6 sessions – 23 school sites – 120 students and adults participated in the program series. 2014-2015 marked the 3rd year the Twin Rivers USD Student Leadership Program was supported by the District Leadership and facilitated by the YDN team. The overall goals of the Student Leadership program during the 2013-2014 fiscal year included: improving the student leadership structures so that youth are more engaged in true positions of responsibility and decision-making; expanding youth and adults’ vision for student leadership at school to include a focus on school climate; and improving the student experience at their school by increasing the amount of authentic youth voice provided by student leaders. Provide adult leaders with the core skills to facilitate an authentic leadership process with their students.

The Student Leadership Skill Building sessions are designed to provide youth participants in the leadership program with ongoing support for their school wide leadership efforts, as well as knowledge and understanding of effective strategies for making change, and getting their voices heard.