“I wish maybe more people would have reached out. We need a lot more people involved to reach out to help kids that are experiencing challenges outside of school.” – Louisville Young Adult

Educational disengagement is one of the most critical issues affecting the Louisville community. Earlier this year, the Coalition Supporting Young Adults, Kentucky Youth Advocates, The Book Works, and several young adult stakeholders conducted research to better understand factors that lead to educational disengagement in youth and ways to prevent disengagement or to facilitate successful re-engagement. The goals of this Youth-Led Educational Re-Engagement Research (YLERR) project were to identify challenges and solutions and, ultimately, improve meaningful access to supports. 

Educational disengagement refers to a situation where a student does not feel included, does not participate in school activities, is not enrolled, or has poor school attendance. For the purposes of our project, educational disengagement included, but was not limited to, dropping out of school, chronic absences, one or more suspensions, being behind on credits, lack of engagement in school activities (such as clubs, sports, other school-related extracurricular activities), or had generally negative feelings towards school, teachers, and staff.

Utilizing the Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) framework, a cohort of young adults informed the survey creation and distribution, facilitated focus groups, analyzed data and determined themes, and researched solution recommendations for policymakers, advocates, and the general community.

The result is a published Education Re-Engagement Solution Brief of youth-identified solutions and opportunities for the Louisville community. While the brief highlights issues within the system that impact students’ abilities to successfully stay engaged in education, the focus is on four primary areas identified by youth and young adults as having the greatest potential impact on our young people’s paths to graduation and beyond: 

  • addressing student homelessness
  • increasing mental health supports
  • connecting youth with adults for guidance and life skills
  • providing academic support

To celebrate the release of the briefs and to lift up the good work of the young adults, CSYA and partners hosted a virtual forum on October 5th featuring insights from the young adult research team and education and community leaders responding to the solutions and recommendations presented in the brief. 

Check out the Education Re-Engagement Solution Brief and stay tuned for a recording of the virtual event.