Rising Youth Theatre is a core partner of the ACLU of Arizona’s Demand to Learn campaign, along with Black Mothers Forum and Morningstar Native Youth Leadership Council. Rising Youth has been a core partner on the campaign since the launch in August of 2017. With the support of a Vitalyst Health Foundation, the three core partners of the Demand to Learn campaign have received funding for innovations aimed at reducing student pushout.
Rising Youth Theatre is developing and piloting a youth driven teacher professional development program that reduces student pushout through the building and sustaining of healthy relationships between teachers and students. Rising Youth Theatre and the ACLU of Arizona posit that if young people are able to experience and practice building positive connections to their teachers, and if teachers have tools for understanding, building, and sustaining healthy relationships with their students, then these relationships will be better equipped to move through challenges and conflicts using restorative instead of punitive practices. As a result, fewer students will be removed from the classroom for disciplinary action, and fewer students will face suspension and expulsion, reducing the risk of students entering the juvenile justice system.
Rising Youth Theatre’s youth and adult facilitation team, comprised of high school students, college students, theatre artists, 6-12th grade classroom teachers, school counselors, community organizers, researchers, and college educators has spent the first year of the project in a learning community together building the pilot training. The team has partnered with two Phoenix area school districts for the 2019-2020 academic year. In the pilot year, the facilitation team will work alongside 10-15 classroom teachers and 10-15 students at the pilot school for the academic year at two schools in a regular cadence of trainings, classroom observations, and relationship building curriculum that uses a blend of tools in youth leadership, co-creation, collaboration, storytelling, classroom management, restorative practices, and civic dialogue. The pilot program will be evaluated using a developmental evaluation approach, with the goal of understanding the ways in which a healthier teacher-student relationship can reduce student pushout.
Want to get involved in the Demand to Learn campaign? Rising Youth Theatre is interested in partnering with schools in the 2020-21 academic year. Get in touch with us to begin a conversation! Please use subject line: Residency
The 100th Day was an original theatre performance created by Rising Youth Theatre in partnership with ACLU Arizona's #Demand2Learn Campaign. The play takes place on the 100th Day of School, and examines the ways in which young people have access to education. The play centered around the core belief that all students in Maricopa County have the right to learn in safe and supportive environments and positions young people as leaders in exploring how this can become a reality for all Arizona youth.