A Systems Approach to Youth Action!
Not a day goes by that I do not consider the enormity of the task before us as a community to educate and support every child towards a successful future. The health, education and welfare of our youth is a large task that requires the best efforts of many different agencies, organizations and individuals -- each entity its own system with a specific way of working.
At ACOE, our adoption of a Systems Thinking approach helps us to see and understand the critical connections that touch an individual student’s life and to work more effectively with our partners -- to find ways to link our systems of supports to better serve students and families throughout Alameda County. As we move forward, I am excited to launch a new initiative, Youth Action (YA!), that creates a platform for us to partner with those who work with young leaders and the young people themselves. Youth are an important asset to our systems; their authentic engagement is essential to lasting change. As young people are greatly impacted by the education, health and social policy decisions we make, they offer a unique perspective and valuable insight to the challenges we seek to resolve.
We have significant momentum here at the Alameda County Office of Education. We have been working with Systems Thinking tools to build strong, lasting partnerships over the past several years. Our adoption of this approach helps us to see and understand the important intersections within the web of supports that touch an individual student’s life. We continue to work collaboratively with our partners in civic engagement, health and wellness, school culture and college and career pathways, among other areas, so that that each young person is better off with a greater chance of a successful future.
ACOE’s Youth Action! embraces youth as partners and leaders and includes a diverse representation of youth, including students who attend our court and community schools who are often left out of leadership opportunities. We also embrace a model of positive youth development, moving from student voice to student empowerment.
Alameda County Office of Education’s Youth Action! Initiative kicks off at our upcoming Bay Area Leadership Forum on February 19th where youth will present and facilitate on Systems Thinking. You are invited to learn more about our work to bridge systems and support youth leadership and advocacy throughout Alameda County.
L. Karen Monroe
Superintendent, Alameda County Schools