Colorado Youth for a Change (CYC) is solving Colorado's dropout crisis. CYC was established in 2005 in response to the alarming increase in the number of students dropping out of school in Colorado and the lack of capacity of school systems to reengage students who have dropped out or who are at risk of dropping out of school.
Because even one student who drops out is too many, we are committed to continuing this work through thoughtful partnerships, Reengagement, Educational Intervention, Attendance, Futures Academy, and Reading Corps. The unemployment rate for those individuals without a high school diploma is nearly double that of the general public, and those that have dropped out of school are more likely to experience homelessness, live in poverty, commit crimes, and become teenage parents.
It is our goal to reengage Colorado students that are either at risk for not completing high school, or who have dropped out of school completely, by providing case management to build positive relationships, reducing barriers to educational success and coordinating academic support services, so that students will reengage with their education and earn their high school diploma or GED, thereby ultimately contributing to solving the dropout crisis in Colorado.
CYC’s programs and methods are proven to work. Based on research, our interventions create positive outcomes for our students and for the community at large. We strive to be an evidence-based, data-driven organization and recently completed our Theory of Change.
CYC’s Educational Intervention program focuses on supporting 9th grade students failing 1-2 core courses, but also serves additional students based on the individual school’s need. CYC Educational Intervention Specialists work directly with students and collaboratively with school staff to meet students’ academic needs and reduce barriers to success.
Research shows that one core course failure in the 9th grade decreases one's chance of graduating by 20 percent, and this decrease continues for each additional course failure. Because the 9th grade year serves as a predictor of future success, CYC implements a hybrid model of service that combines direct service to students (academic monitoring, skill-building training, and advocacy) with capacity building in schools so that all 9th graders can move to 10th grade on time by credit.
Reengagement (formerly Dropout Outreach and Recovery) engages youth who have already dropped out of high school. To assist in this process, the reengagment team contacts students that have dropped out and educates them on the importance of a high school diploma, offers information on school and GED programs that may be a better fit than their previous school, works to eliminate the barriers to educational engagement, and helps with the enrollment process. Reengagement staff members continue to support youth for an entire year after reenrollment to promote accountability and in-school advocacy.
CYC’s Attendance program focuses on supporting high school students with 70-90 percent average daily attendance in the prior school year and who are off-track to graduate by total credits. Attendance specialists work directly with students and collaboratively with school staff to increase engagement in school and reduce dropout rates for students with barriers to school attendance.
In addition, our team connects students with opportunities to make up lost instructional time, including tutoring and/or credit recovery as needed
Futures Academy serves students ages 17 to 21, who have too few credits to receive a traditional high school diploma, but are still interested in furthering their education and pursuing a post-secondary degree.
Through a partnership with CYC and Aurora Public Schools, students are provided the resources, guidance, and targeted academic instruction that will allow them to leave Futures Academy with an associate degree from Aurora Community College, technical certificate(s) from Pickens Technical College, a GED, or a combination of the three.
Corps for a Change
This program serves youth ages 14-21 in Colorado who have dropped out of school or who are at risk of dropping out of school. Corpsmembers do this in two ways:
Reaching out to students who have already dropped out of school to reengage them in educational opportunities
Working with in-school youth with low attendance to provide support and resources in order to improve attendance and school engagement
Colorado Reading Corps
Colorado Reading Corps, brought to Colorado by Mile High United Way, is operated by Colorado Youth for a Change. Reading Corps is a replication of the proven and successful Minnesota Reading Corps. The program supports kindergarten through third grade students in school districts across the state, to increase reading proficiency. Reading Corps places AmeriCorps members in schools for one school year to provide one-on-one tutoring to students reading below grade level.
If a student is not reading at grade level by third grade, this can be a key indicator to a student dropping out of school in the future. As a leader in the area of student reengagement, CYC understands the importance of literacy for all students.