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Woodland Joint Unified School District Youth engagement

Woodland Joint Unified School District Youth engagement

Welcome to the WJUSD Office of Youth Engagement!

Our school district is focused on growing and improving opportunities for all youth to experience feeling heard, feeling responsible, feeling connected, and feeling valued -- in their classroom, on their school campus, and within the school district.
Department Contacts

Department Contacts

Andy Paul
Director of Youth Engagement
Adriana Gomez
Administrative Secretary, Youth Engagement
What is Youth Engagement?
Youth engagement is when young people have opportunities to:
  • make decisions
  • lead
  • provide voice and input
  • fill roles of responsibility, and 
  • have more choices available to them in their learning and in their lives.
WJUSD has made youth engagement a priority because:
  • It helps all students develop into healthier and more successful adults
  • It more effectively engages all students in their learning, and, most importantly
  • It helps all of our students feel like they matter.

What does youth engagement look like in Woodland Joint Unified School District?

Youth Advisory Councils
Not to be confused with ASB or student council, Youth Advisory Councils are designed to be a place where students can raise issues or concerns about their school and then be heard by supportive adults. From there, youth and adults can work to problem-solve the youth-identified issues together.

Peer Youth programs
Many of our schools offer programs where students support other students, such as:
  • Peer tutors
  • Peer mentors 
  • Conflict managers

Local Control and Accountability Plan - priority
The community of WJUSD decided that youth engagement was so critical to the success of their students that it is spelled out in one of our LCAP goals, LCAP 4. Having Youth Engagement as one of our LCAP goals enables us to put more resources into making these kinds of opportunities happen for as many students as possible.

Woodland Youth Plan
In 2021, WJUSD teamed up with community partners (City of Woodland, County of Yolo, Woodland Library, Woodland Police Dept, Woodland Fire Dept, City Council) to begin the process of composing a comprehensive plan for the youth of the community of Woodland. This plan, now in its final draft form, will be approved and signed onto by all relevant partners so that in the coming years, we can all be on the same page about what young people need and deserve. Guided by this plan, we can all do our part to unify our systems and hold ourselves accountable to making it happen.
Professional Development 
Staff receive ongoing (and intensive) training in strategies for incorporating youth voice, responsibility, and leadership into their classrooms, and schoolwide.

The Youth Development Institute (or YDI)
The YDI is a unique 4-day learning community where teams of staff and administrators from school sites focus intensively on the 5 youth development supports and opportunities that all youth need in order to become successful, healthy adults. 

These are: 
1) Emotional, cultural, and physical safety; 
2) Positive relationships between students, and between students and staff; 
3) Youth engagement (roles of responsibility, youth voice, and youth decision-making); 
4) Community involvement; and 
5) Skill-building that is challenging and relevant  

Follow up work from this learning community leads to implementation of more strategies at school sites that reduce barriers for learning by:
  • building youth up
  • positively impacting behavior and motivation, and 
  • increasing youth’s sense of connectedness to their school.  

Our first district-wide YDI was held in July 2022. Teams of staff from 7 schools attended (Cache Creek HS, Woodland HS, Beamer Elementary, Whitehead Elementary, Zamora Elementary, Sci Tech Elementary, and Freeman Elementary) along with a team from Friday Night Live (one of our district community partners).
Superintendent’s District Youth Advisory
[coming soon!]