OUR PROGRAMS

IN SCHOOL PROGRAMS

Our youth development and education philosophy focuses on creating leadership from within, engaging at-risk students by providing them with trained peer mentors who come from similar backgrounds and who share the same “cultural zip code.”

We recruit successful students to become the leaders in our program. These leaders develop the framework and skills to be positive role models to their peers. The mentors may be star students or even students who overcame academic challenges themselves.

All programs are on-site, school-based under supervision of YESS and school staff.

We currently serve 500 students through our Middle School program

RANUM
MIDDLE SCHOOL

SCOTT CARPENTER
MIDDLE SCHOOL

SHAW HEIGHTS
MIDDLE SCHOOL

ADAMS CITY MIDDLE SCHOOL

KEARNEY MIDDLE SCHOOL

The YESS philosophy focuses on creating leadership from within to reduce the likelihood of a student dropping out from school.  We seek to provide student leaders the framework and skills to be positive role models to their peers and empower and serve the community from within. We recruit successful 11th and 12th graders to become the mentors in the YESS program. In addition, we select mentor leaders to represent each school’s program and assist the program specialist.

YESS defines success in several ways when it comes to selecting Mentors. Peer Mentors may be the “star students” as well as students who once fulfilled the profile of the mentored students. We choose mentors for their current strengths, not just for their GPA.

All programs are on-site, school-based under supervision of YESS and school staff. Mentees are referred by the school; and we engage them by providing trained peer mentors who come from similar backgrounds and who share the same “cultural zip code.”

Our high school program serves 500 students in Greater Denver Area

ABRAHAM LINCOLN
HIGH SCHOOL

NORTH
HIGH SCHOOL

WEST LEADERSHIP
ACADEMY

ADAMS CITY
HIGH SCHOOL

WESTMINSTER
HIGH SCHOOL

STUDENT SUPPORT PROGRAMS

The Family Advocate Programs seeks to strengthen communication between the YESS classroom and the home; inform parents about what is being learned weekly in the YESS classroom; and provide individual support for parents and/or students to help overcome obstacles and increase equitable access to educational and extra-curricular opportunities.

This program utilizes a range of outreach strategies to bring the lessons of the YESS classroom into the home and establish connections with YESS parents. Increasing parental engagement results in increased parental support for YESS students. The life skills the YESS curriculum addresses are the five social-emotional learning competencies; self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision making, including brain development, marijuana use prevention, body issues, healthy eating and peer pressure/bullying.

Family Advocate Outreach

74% Students reporting that they were supported by Family Advocate in first three months
50% of Students received Home Visits

The Family Advocate has already made 245 phone calls to guardians this school year. He also reports the topic and length of each conversation or visit; 100% of his conversations included reviewing the student attendance, updating the Parents/Guardians on academic performance, and/or discussing post-secondary options for the student.

The Family Advocate Supports approximately 200 students through our outreach program

NORTH HIGH SCHOOL

WEST LEADERSHIP ACADEMY

The Post-Secondary Success Program seeks to ensure that YESS seniors achieve continued success beyond high school into their post-secondary careers and become role models in their communities for other younger students who struggle with the same disengagement that they once did. As the first generation in their family to pursue higher education, 66% of YESS students have no frame of reference for what applying to college entails.

Our two full-time Post-Secondary Navigators help them build that knowledge base through essay writing, interviewing skills, alumni networking, and researching FAFSA, financial aid, and scholarship options. Knowing where to begin is often the most confusing aspect of the process; the Navigators create monthly agendas for each senior with step-by-step guidance on graduation and application priorities, then meet at least twice monthly, individually and in small groups, to followup on progress. Additionally, they coordinate with YESS alumni who are currently in college to return to their alma maters and provide practical insight on post-secondary life and inspire fellow YESS youth to pursue post-secondary success.

Our Post-Secondary Navigator serves 300 students in Greater Denver Area

ABRAHAM LINCOLN
HIGH SCHOOL

NORTH
HIGH SCHOOL

WEST LEADERSHIP
ACADEMY

ADAMS CITY
HIGH SCHOOL

WESTMINSTER
HIGH SCHOOL

LOCAL POST-SECONDARY CAMPUSES

Post Secondary Support as of 2019/2020 Winter Break

90% Students with Active Plan (i.e. school applications submitted, committed to military service, etc.)
77% Sudents Accepted into Post-Secondary Program
24% Submitted Scholarship Applications

OUR MODEL

RECRUITING &
MATCHING PAIRS

Peer mentors are matched to culturally similar 6th-grade mentees.

MENTOR TRAINING
& SUPERVISION

Mentors receive weekly and individual training on YESS Mentoring methods.

TUTORING & HOMEWORK SESSIONS

Peer mentors work once a week, one-on-one, with mentees.

MENTORING
SESSIONS

The student pairs work one-on-one on social-emotional skill building.

ONGOING CONTACT
WITH FAMILIES

YESS staff and school community liaisons provide weekly progress to parents.

OUR CURRICULUM

THE ROAD TO SUCCESS

The YESS Institute’s programs focuses strongly on social emotional skills, post-secondary readiness, and healthy choices. The Road to Success is a YESS Institute curriculum that has been developed from years of experience working with youth.

Our curriculum addresses personal and social skills that are essential to being successful in school and in life. This includes self-confidence, respect and integrity, achievement, caring about others, and leadership.

It also addresses topics such as systemic inequality, identity, and race.

Our curriculum has been designed for our staff to coach our youth mentors, providing them with the tools to help teach social emotional intelligence to their peer mentees.

WANT YESS AT YOUR SCHOOL?

HOW TO START A YESS PROGRAM

Get the conversation started by contacting carlo@yessinstitute.org.
Below you’ll find what we would need in a school to fully incorporate the program.

Mentors

Staff will work with school to identify these students the first year. Staff will recruit in subsequent years. These students should be currently performing well in school. They should demonstrate an above-average level of maturity. They can be either 7th or 8th graders; or 11th and 12th graders. They should have good grades and excellent attendance. They should be bought-in to the school climate and desire to be leaders in the school community.

 

Mentees

These students are school-identified. The school should seek students who are currently in 6th grade for the first year, or 9th and 10th grades. In the spring, they will identify their incoming 6th graders as mentees. These students could have poor grades, poor behavior, poor attendance or some combination of these risk factors. These students should not be the toughest kids in school, behaviorally. These students should not have severe special needs. These students should be able to read, write, and speak English. ESL students are appropriate, if they have moved beyond intensive language supports. The ideal mentee is a student who needs some guidance, not the student who is routinely removed from the classroom environment for academic or behavioral intervention

Students for YESS

  • Even numbers of mentors and mentees – 50 of each (total)
  • The ideal YESS class has 11-12 mentees and 11-12 mentors in it
  • There should be 4-5 YESS classes offered each day
  • YESS staff ideally get 2 plan periods per day (in order to engage parents and facilitate student interventions)
  • YESS Staff can assist with duties, as needed, (Lunch Duty, Hall Duty, etc.)

Grading System

  • We follow whatever system the school uses
  • We assign grades for quality of student work/meeting standards set forth by CDE and district

Space requirements

  • A room that accommodates 30 students
  • Desks/chairs for up to 30 students

Personnel Supports

  • YESS Staff should be afforded opportunity to meet with all admins at least once
  • YESS Staff should be given a mentor teacher
  • YESS Staff will need to know the school/district discipline policy and who to contact for help when students act out
  • YESS Staff will need training in how to use copier, IC, online grading system, file sharing, etc
  • YESS staff ideally get 2 plan periods per day (in order to engage parents and facilitate student interventions)
  • YESS Staff can assist with duties, as needed, (Lunch Duty, Hall Duty, etc.)

Tech Requirements

  • Chromebooks – Class set, if available
  • Smart TV/cables, if available
  • Projector/cables that should be hooked up to computer
  • Desktop computer that should be hooked up to school network
  • Printing/copying access
  • Infinite Campus access
  • Online grading system access
  • Shared files on school network (such as bell schedules, logo images, master schedule, etc)

Program Timing

  • YESS classes begin on day 1 of the school year
  • The schedulers should place students when they’re scheduling the other teachers
  • No straggler add-ons or removals

OVER 5 YEARS OF INVESTMENT

KEY INITIATIVES

  • Providing training and leadership to the Denver Youth Mentoring Collaborative
  • Co-Founding Mentor Colorado in partnership with statewide and national mentoring leaders
  • Developing curriculum for Bridging the Gap: Kids and Cops Forums by the Denver Office for the Independent Monitor

PARTNERING WITH COMMUNITY LEADERS

COLLECTIVE IMPACT EFFORTS

  • The Corridors of College Success by the Ford Foundation in SW Denver
  • My Brother’s Keeper at The Denver Office for Children’s Affairs
  • Contributing our expertise on committees such as 9to25, The Denver Foundation, and Community First Foundation
  • Rocky Mountain PBS Documentary, Standing in the Gap: Race and Denver Schools
  • A Precious Child

YESS DATA COLLECTION

We used to conduct paper surveys to collect data in rural areas with limited internet connectivity.

Thanks to QuestionPro’s offline mobile app, collecting offline data is a piece of cake now, especially when you don’t have to deal with paperwork anymore.


 

WE'RE NOT IN THIS ALONE

YESS COMMUNITY PARTNERS

  • A Precious Child
  • Adams 14 School District
  • Adams County Youth Initiative
  • Aurora Research Institute
  • Boys and Girls Club, Statewide Conference
  • CDHE Colorado Challenge
  • Center for Urban Education – Metropolitan State University of Denver
  • Civic Canopy Community Partnership System
  • CLACE
  • College Assistance Migrant Program – Metropolitan State University of Denver
  • Colorado Counseling Corps
  • Colorado Mentoring Symposium
  • Colorado Uplift
  • AmeriCorps, Denver Department of Human Services
  • Community Reach Center
  • Denver Office for Independent Monitor
  • Denver Police Department
  • Denver Public Schools
  • Denver Quality Afterschool Connection
  • Denver Scholarship Foundation
  • Denver Youth Mentoring Collaborative
  • Estrella TV
  • I Have a Dream Foundation – Boulder/Denver
  • Live Urban Real Estate
  • Mi Casa Resource Center
  • Mile High United Way
  • Mile High Youth Corps
  • OMNI
  • RAFT
  • Richard Male & Associates
  • Rocky Mountain PBS
  • University of Colorado at Denver
  • University of Denver
  • Westminster Public Schools
  • Washington DC National Mentoring Summit
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters – El Paso, TX
  • STARS National Conference
  • Canadian Women’s Foundation
  • International Mentoring Association
  • Regional School Counselors – Flanders, Belgium