February 16, 2018

Community Youth Partnership: Transforming Students into Teachers

Dina Dean, CYP Program Coordinator

At 4pm on Wednesday afternoons, little faces populate Oakwood’s North Campus Courtyard alongside our secondary school students. They make their way from schools as close as Colfax Charter down the street and as far as Portola Middle School in Sherman Oaks. They are our Community Youth Partnership (CYP) students and they’re so excited to be on Oakwood’s Campus.

Shortly after they sign in, they disappear to four corners of our campus to learn from Oakwood’s high school students. Three science classes occupy our labs, two arts classes sprawl across the drawing and sculpture studios, the dance class traverses the dance studio, and the music courses split up among rooms D through H.

CYP runs for 10 weeks during the fall trimester and another 10 weeks during the winter. Throughout each session, we see our student teachers grow into young adults. Our high school students design lesson plans, manage their classrooms, and most importantly get to know their own students through planned activities and unplanned teaching moments.

As I make my rounds to check in on the classes, I hear laughter, questions, and meaningful conversations taking place in each of the rooms. I get a front row seat to watch the relationships flowering between our Secondary students and their younger counterparts. It is inspiring and wonderful to see students transform into competent leaders and teachers in a matter of minutes.

But don’t take it from me. This is what a CYP Student Teacher has to say about the program:

Community Youth Partnership, or CYP, has helped me to grow as a student by stepping into the shoes of a teacher. Being able to watch a class unfold, and deal with the inevitable issues that come up, has given me a newfound respect for my teachers and the teaching community as a whole. I feel as though, by spending time with the same incredible group of kids each week, I have gotten to know each one personally, and opened myself up to them in return. Going to CYP each week gives me hope for the next generation. The kids I teach are smart, funny, energetic, and full of life. I feel honored to be a part of this incredible program.

Eliza, 11th grade