DYS Guiding Principles

At CES, we understand that inequity and injustice are deeply embedded in our society’s political, social, educational, and economic structures and ideologies. 

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Focus on Readiness, Culture, and Equity 

The oppressions embedded in our society, based on socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, education level, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, age, and ability, serve to deny us all human dignity, preventing the harmonious integration and inclusion of diverse groups, blocking the self-determination of those historically targeted by discrimination, and maintaining social and economic disparity.

In light of this understanding, and with an unwavering belief that everyone is a learner, we embrace a personalized, learner-centered approach to education that embodies the DYS Guiding Principles below:

 Click here to download a copy of the Guiding Principles.

College and Career

College, Career, and Civic Readiness

  • Youth benefit from inquiry-based, authentic, hands-on, and relevant learning experiences that enable them to develop and apply critical thinking and problem-solving skills, propelling them to explore and transfer knowledge to real-world contexts.
  • Youth benefit from opportunities to develop 21st-century learning, literacy, and life skills such as creativity, collaboration, and communication; information, media, and technology literacy; flexibility, leadership, initiative, and productivity.
  • Youth benefit themselves and their communities when they attain the knowledge, strategies, experience, and public spirit to pursue meaningful civic engagement.
DYS Culture Purpose Icon

Culture and Purpose

  • Youth learn in classrooms where joy, creativity, and compassion are evident; their voices are valued and identities are affirmed; and dignity, safety, and respect is fostered by all.
  • Youth experience programming that acknowledges and validates their personal narratives while bringing possible and previously unimagined futures (personal, professional, and social) into their view.
Social Justice and Equity

Social Justice and Equity

  • Youth have opportunities to contribute and develop their whole selves with educators who design validating, individualized, differentiated, and personalized educational experiences.
  • Youth engage in critical discussions about power and privilege, facilitated by educators who consistently seek to decolonize the educational experience, cultivating in and with youth the tools and mindsets to critically consider the world as it is and act to change it.
  • Youth are supported by educators in becoming changemakers beyond the classroom walls.
  • Youth see themselves reflected in the curriculum and collaborate with educators to co-create meaningful, relevant, and self-directed learning experiences that embrace their personal, social, and cultural identities.
  • Youth have equitable access to quality education including higher education, technical skills training, and career counseling.

Regional Excellence in Education Awards

In October 2021, we began our Regional Excellence in Education Awards program. The awards honor those educators across the DYS workforce who embody one or more of the Guiding Principles including: College, Career, and Civic Readiness; Culture and Purpose; and Social Justice and Equity, central to the organization’s mission to improve the academic and life outcomes for the youth they serve.

“I celebrate our colleagues for the positive impact they have on everything we do, most especially, their students.” — Woody Clift, Director of DYS Education Initiative

image of a teacher sitting with a student and pointing out something in a book
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