In June 2012, YLI’s Fresno office started facilitating a collaborative effort of several youth development organizations working to increase student attendance and achievement, entitled Students United to Create a Climate of Engagement, Support and Safety (SUCCESS).
The SUCCESS team utilizes the YLI youth development, youth action research and youth advocacy frameworks to improve local school discipline policies and procedures so they do not limit student attendance and achievement, particularly for students of color, English language learners, and students with disabilities.
SUCCESS research uncovered a staggering racial divide in the impact of school discipline policies and also calculated that students in Fresno Unified School District (FUSD) were missing over 32,000 days of school due to suspensions and expulsions, contributing to chronically low graduation rates and creating a virtual dead end to future pathways of education and meaningful employment for these youth, creating an ongoing draining effect on these communities and economies.
After surveying the community, YLI staff and youth leaders advocated to change the policy; SUCCESS presented Restorative Justice recommendation #8 to the FUSD board as one of the Graduation Taskforce recommendations. The policy recommendations were approved at the May 8, 2013 board meeting.