Imagine all students starting the school day by eating a healthy breakfast and traveling through safe neighborhoods. Imagine all parents knowing that their children are receiving the best that education has to offer and that their children will be prepared for and have equal access to higher education — regardless of family resources or experiences. Imagine every teacher equipped with the training to help every child succeed in school, to set and pursue goals and dreams for the future, and to gain access to higher education institutions. Imagine these conditions enabling every student to create a life that meets his or her vision of success.

What. The National Youth Leadership Council’s achievement gap initiative: Smart. Youth Solutions to the Achievement Gap® is about turning this vision into reality. NYLC offers a unique training package for youth and adults who work with youth in schools and communities. With our trainings and resources, Smart tackles the achievement gap head-on by educating, inspiring, and empowering the most important stakeholders in this problem — youth — to take action toward closing the achievement gap.

Why. Youth are the largest stakeholders in the achievement gap. And because they have the most at stake, they also are positioned to be the most persuasive. Once exposed to the roots of the issue, they tend to want to learn more about educational equity, to identify solutions, and to serve as change agents in their schools and communities. By exploring an individual’s power — in addition to the role family, school, and teachers play in education — and by providing concrete, research-based examples of successful service-learning projects, youth receive the tools they need to become part of the solution.

NYLC’s achievement gap initiative is the result of a 2007 decision driven by the Youth Advisory Council. Disturbed by what they had learned about educational inequities in the United States, these students decided to focus NYLC’s youth programming on addressing the issue. From 2008 to 2010, NYLC developed a youth-led response to the gap, and then implemented it at the National Youth Leadership Training.

Request more info about training options, or contact Elizabeth Koenig, Professional Development Director, by email or phone at (651) 999-7368.