Research makes clear that what students think about their potential as learners—and what educators think about their students’ potential—dramatically affects their learning trajectories. And this is nowhere more crucial than in adolescence. When students believe in their ability to learn, and when they are armed with effective problem-solving strategies, they work harder, persist longer, and achieve at higher levels. When educators believe in students’ ability to learn, they engage their students in more rigorous tasks and challenge them to demonstrate their understanding in multiple ways.
To be effective, efforts to improve academic outcomes must address individual students, group interactions, and the overall culture of the learning environment. We now know from research that relatively modest interventions aimed at shaping the culture of classrooms can have powerful effects on student success.
AYD, then, can ultimately serve whole schools and districts. Students develop knowledge and skills to share with their peers, thus becoming positive change agents. Teachers and administrators become equipped with powerful research, insights, and strategies to shape their practice on behalf of all of their students.
AYD transforms the way adolescents think about themselves as learners, and helps educators create and manage a powerful learning culture in their classrooms and schools.
AYD also provides opportunities for rigorous analysis, problem solving, collaboration, and presentation to enable students to internalize new ways of thinking and engaging in school.
The AYD family of programs has several forms:
Summer-Start AYD (SS-AYD) is for students who are preparing for Algebra I and for high school. Through a summer immersion experience, the program readies them to excel, to believe that they belong in a community of learners, and to understand and embrace their role in constructing a positive learning environment for themselves and their peers.
School-Year AYD (SY-AYD), for students in grades 8-10, is for advisory, homeroom, and after-school programs, and provides students with strategies to be successful in mathematics, science, and across their school day.
An Educator’s Course in Academic Youth Development (E-AYD) is a professional development course for educators. Successful participants include teachers, academic coaches, guidance staff, and district leadership, who want to learn about the social and emotional research and practices that are most crucial to success among adolescent learners.