YPAR in School aims to create and sustain opportunities for young people to inquire into issues related to equity and social justice and increase their engagement in their local community. A team of high school teachers, university faculty, community members, and adolescents, draw on YPAR traditions to encourage young people to recognize, understand, and take action on the social problems they observe in their local community.
These efforts are aimed at enhancing youth community engagement, cultivating youth agency, and confronting educational inequities. YPARinSchool is deliberately designed to allow young people to generate new knowledge and use that knowledge to address pressing social issues. This approach places young people at the center of their learning and positions them as co-researchers. Young people increase their civic engagement as they develop their research skills and voices within the community.
In the course of a YPAR project, strong relationships are built between youth, facilitators, and the local community. With its roots in community organizing, YPAR does not fit neatly in the context of U.S. schools. The context of school and the realities of schooling presents various challenges for the YPAR project, yet our team has seen that it is possible for YPAR to operate in school. We hope to showcase the possibilities of YPAR in school and, over time, to see an increase in the number of schools that draw on YPAR within the context of their school day.
The YPARinSchool project emerged from a partnership between Cleveland State University and Campus International High School. YPAR @ CIHS started in 2017 when the school opened its doors as a new high school. Through this partnership, CIHS actively implements a year-long YPAR project as part of the school curriculum. CIHS is an urban, non-selective public high school that opened its doors as a new high school in the fall of 2017. YPAR is required for all enrolled 9th graders. The YPAR class is positioned as the first course in a 4-year research sequence. In the face of the global COVID-19 pandemic in 2020-2021, we enacted our first-ever remote implementation of YPAR in school.
The purpose of this YPAR in School website is three-fold:
YPAR is implemented collaboratively with: scholars, community members, key stakeholders, researchers, and educators. The action research process includes the following steps: developing research questions, collecting data, presenting research findings, and taking an action step to address their issue. Some examples of scholar-selected social issue topics include: Black History, Environmentalism, Domestic Violence, Heart Disease in African Americans, Human Trafficking, Police Brutality, Refugees, Teen Pregnancy, and Teen Suicide.
Building youth voices through YPAR promotes positive civic engagement, heightens youth awareness and attention to complex social issues, affords scholars the opportunity to discover how to become a researcher, and brings light to specific challenges/social issues in the local community. Our sincerest gratitude goes out to you for making the effort to implement YPARinSchool with your scholars!