Getting to “Y” with Student Leadership
October 26, 2021
Thetford Academy’s “Getting to Y” teams are back in action this fall, continuing their work to create positive change in our school community. Last year, with generous support from a Mount Ascutney Prevention Partnership Prevention Network Grant, TA joined schools from all over Vermont to participate in this UP for Learning youth leadership program. Starting with each school’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey data, GTY uses an action research model and peer and community engagement to give students the tools they need to make a difference in school culture.
Each year, GTY teams start the school year with statewide training events led by experienced Getting to ‘Y’ youth and adults, where they learn and practice tools and strategies to organize a data analysis retreat in their own school or community. This October, two TA students–Margaret Smallwood and Layliana Benjamin–were selected to help facilitate these trainings as UP Youth Facilitator Interns. Between the two events, Margaret and Layliana trained 44 youth and adults from Hartford High School, Hartford Middle School, Sheldon Elementary School, Vergennes Middle School and Thetford Academy to use data to create positive change. As UP Youth Interns, both students will have additional opportunities to learn and practice skills for public speaking, group management, and facilitation.
From here, TA’s Getting to Y groups will build upon the successes of their inaugural year, with new members adding new ideas and voices to the conversation. With the statewide trainings complete, the groups now have the tools to host their own data analysis retreat to look at the YRBS data to identify the top strengths and concerns around student wellness at TA. From there, each group will lead dialogue sessions to gather input from both their peers and the adults in our community. And by the end of the year, they will have developed–and implemented–an action plan to mitigate youth risk factors and support youth wellness at Thetford Academy.