Post your questions or leave your comments here regarding retention/attendance for high school programs.
We too have struggled with the attendance/retention of our 11-12th grade participants in our 21st CCLC program that serves youth in grades 6-12. Here are some ways we were able to engage these youth.
We implemented a leadership youth group (consisting of youth in grades 8-12) who are the liaisons to all the participants and act as mentors to their peers in our programming. This small set of leaders meet with me on a monthly basis to discuss issues at hand, how programming is going and ideas for both enrichment activity topics and marketing of our programming. Our focus last year was not only having enrichment activities that were career focused project based learning but to also have our youth facilitate such activities in the areas they have interest in (with guidance of our staff). This was a huge success and our older youth’s attendance sky rocketed. We now have youth excited and connected to our program. Their sense of belonging and having their voice heard had a great impact.
Another idea which actually stemmed from one of our youth’s facilitated projects was the creation of our 11th and 12th grade Media Production club. This club meets on a separate night once a week and one Saturday a month to work on community and school awareness videos projects. The youth learn first hand the production process and key career roles within. We partnered with our local university and use an online production media consultants that our youth work directly with. This newly created entity of our program has increased the awareness of our 21st CCLC programming in both our school district and community.
I hope some of these ideas are helpful!
Sounds like you are doing great work. I would love to hear more about your career focused project-based learning. How did you design programming to focus on careers and what type of training did you have to provide staff to ensure the quality?