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Getting your School Ready for Youth Engagement

Youth Engagement ensures that young people become an integral part of the work of schools and communities and that their voices help shape the future. To get your school ready to engage youth, follow these simple steps:

Assess Readiness

  • Gaining buy-in for youth engagement is essential. Make sure school staff and parents understand that this is a priority.
  • Determine if your school is ready by using the youth adult engagement readiness assessment (external) . This assessment can help identify areas of improvement or supports needed before starting youth engagement.
  • Take a minute to assess how you are currently involving youth. Use the following questions as your guide:
    • Do you have any youth on your school committee(s)?
    • Do youth hold positions of leadership on the committee? Are there opportunities for youth to take on leadership roles?
    • Do you seek a diversity of youth perspectives? (i.e. diverse backgrounds, views, levels of engagement, gender and age)
    • Who sets the agenda? Who decides what happens?
    • When are meetings scheduled? Is it a convenient time for youth to attend?
    • What incentives do you offer? (i.e. food, honorarium, volunteer hours, references)

Identify and Engage Champions

  • Find staff champions who are natural mentors. We call them adult allies
  • Engage staff who are positive role models and foster assets in students
  • Have these champions bring youth together to initiate the process

Create a Youth-Friendly Environment

  • Be welcoming and respectful of differences in youth perspectives, skills and knowledge
  • Create an atmosphere that is non-judgemental (i.e. avoid assumptions, generalizations)
  • Hold meetings in spaces that are convenient and where youth feel comfortable
  • Be authentic and genuine

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