Date of Award

5-2013

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

Patricia Strach

Abstract

Many of our schools in the United States are struggling to produce high school graduates due to many challenges such as poverty, lack of community support, drug and crime stricken areas, disengagement of youth, and the list goes on. Educational reform is necessary and crucial at this time in order to lessen the achievement gap. Although some policies, such as No Child Left Behind, have made some headway into reform, greater change is needed. I propose that educational policy needs to implement a positive youth development approach. Research has shown that PYD practices have the power to transform some of the worst schools into vibrant, successful schools. My thesis is based on a case study that analyzes how five schools transformed themselves with PYD methods and will determine if they can serve as models to other schools. The goal of this paper is to uncover the challenges of reform and policy making while measuring the effectiveness of positive youth development strategies.

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