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College, Career, and Civic Readiness

Youth Empowerment: The Contributions and Challenges of Youth-Led Research in a High-Poverty, Urban Community

This issue brief addresses the benefits and challenges of sponsoring a youth-led research project, specifically Youth Engaged in Leadership and Learning (a participant-led research program intended to make young people’s voices heard) in a school where students and their friends, families, and teachers confront daily difficulties posed by poverty and its attendant ills. It finds that a youth-empowerment framework has particular value in this context, but poses unique challenges to program design.

The Mismatch between Postsecondary Education and the Bay Area Economy

The fields of postsecondary education and the San Francisco Bay Area economy are varied and complex. They are integral to each other’s success but are mismatched and ill-suited in many ways. These fields have developed under different conditions, with different pressures and for different purposes. Often, colleges must adjudicate between two worlds: one relating to the historic traditions of higher education, and the second attuned to the serving the needs of the economic region in which they are embedded.

Alternative Education Options: A Descriptive Study of California Continuation High Schools

This study draws on survey results and state administrative data reviewed by staff at WestEd and detailed in a supporting technical report (Austin & Dixon, et al., 2008), and on technical reports (McLaughlin, Atukpawu & Williamson, 2008; Ruiz de Velasco, 2008; and Perez & Johnson, 2008) that detail results from field research undertaken during the winter and spring of 2007 in nine California counties.

A Model for Fostering Youth Leadership: The Youth Engaged in Leadership and Learning Program (YELL)

Youth leadership is widely recognized as a positive, desired youth development outcome. This issue of Youth Developments takes a close look at one youth leadership program, Youth Engaged in Leadership and Learning (YELL), offering a look at the Gardner Center's  youth leadership development that is informed by six years of research and practice. These authors identify three skill sets as a foundation for authentic youth leadership: (1) communication, (2) analytic thinking, and (3) positive involvement in the community.

State and Local Data Infrastructure for Tracking Secondary to Postsecondary Educational Outcomes

There is an important case to be made for using linked administrative data to study students’ educational pathways in order to document and understand the trajectories they follow from secondary to postsecondary education. This brief discusses the ways in which existing administrative data can be used for this purpose. The authors begin with a discussion of existing statewide and local data linking projects and then discuss the specific types of administrative data that could be used to follow student pathways.

Secondary to Postsecondary Transitions for Youth in San Francisco Unified School District

The goals of the San Francisco Bridge to Success partnership were to create shared ownership of the responsibility for postsecondary attainment and to build a coordinated strategy to define changes needed to make a real difference in the lives of youth.  To help achieve these goals, the Gardner Center was asked to investigate: 1) How many San Francisco Unified School District 9th grade students graduated from high school, attended a postsecondary institution, and received a postsecondary credential; and 2) Where can the partnership implement programmatic or policy changes that could improve

English Articulation Between the San Francisco Unified School District and the City College of San Francisco

The Gardner Center used the Youth Data Archive to examine the relationship between SFUSD high school students’ English performance and their performance on CCSF’s English placement test for incoming students. Previous research by CCSF and others has highlighted the importance of the initial placement test, as students who place below college-level courses are less likely to advance through the sequence of remedial courses needed to complete a two-year or four-year degree.


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