American Graduate Champion: The Communities In Schools XY Zone Program

KLRU shares the inspiring stories of the people that are making our community a success! As part of our American Graduate initiative, we’re honoring American Graduate Champions that have been submitted by the community.

communities-in-schoolsToday’s Champion is The Communities In Schools XY Zone Program. This program is a leadership development and peer support program that develops productive life skills to help students succeed in school and achieve in life. XY-Zone Coordinators engage approximately 400 young men per year in activities focused on the Five R’s – Respect, Responsibility, Relationships, Role Modeling and Reaching Out on ten high school campuses: Travis, Crockett, LBJ, Lehman, Lanier, Reagan, Manor, Del Valle, Hays, and Eastside Memorial. The effectiveness of the XY-Zone Program achieved national attention when featured in Leonard Pitts’ syndicated column as part of his “What Works” series. Pitts’ column was followed by stories on NPR’s Talk of the Nation and KUT’s In Black America. Communities In Schools of Central Texas was recognized as an organization that demonstrates a substantive commitment to access and equity for young men of color, and have played a critical role in improving the lives and educational experience for the students Communities In Schools serves. XY-Zone participants demonstrate improvements in grades, attendance or behavior; they decrease risky behaviors, increase volunteerism, leadership, and future aspirations, and they are challenged and empowered to aim high, get an education, and break the cycle of poverty. Outcomes: 90% of case managed students show improvement or maintain grades, attendance and/or behavior, 97% of case managed students remain in school, 92% of case managed students are promoted or graduate, participants are significantly more likely to report improved school/community involvement after engaging in XY-Zone activities. 400 case managed students are served each year and an additional 300 students receive short-term or crisis support. The recognition letter submitted by the community said: “When you talk to students after participating in the program, they tell you how far they have come and how they couldn’t have made it through high school without the Communities In Schools XY Zone program. The XY Zone Coordinators who work with theses students are working directly on high school campuses providing direct service to students. These coordinators serve as role models and they give the young men in the XY Zone program a belief in themselves and help inspire them to dream big, work hard, and to achieve success after high school graduation.”

Do you know someone in our community who is working to improve high school success for students throughout Central Texas? Recognize them as an American Graduate Champion! American Graduate Champions can be students who work as mentors, business leaders who serve as role models, school officials making changes to better the system, parent activists, and even struggling students who are overcoming obstacles in order to graduate.