At a time when the need for quality education is increasing, the U.S. is witnessing alarming numbers of young people who fail to complete high school. “Zero-tolerance” policies are pushing students out of school at faster rates. The culture of standardized testing is most demeaning to low-performing students, and even the ones who stay can lose their motivation to learn. High numbers of students display chronic disengagement in school, failing to see any intrinsic value to their studies.
How will school reach these students? By giving them what they want to learn. By building with them a welcoming environment. By providing the space for these young people to understand their identity, experience community, and gain useful knowledge about the world.
Young Spirit Foundation is a nonprofit organization designed to help teachers and schools respond to their students’ basic needs for wisdom and connection. The Foundation has a changemaking purpose. Its strategy is to provide a principle-based model which can then be adapted to any educational setting, across boundaries of economics, culture, ethnicity, and nationality.
While dropping out of school is the most visible indication of a student’s disengagement from academic purposes and programs, many students who remain in school attend irregularly, exert only modest effort on schoolwork, and learn little.Engaging Schools
, Board on Children, Youth, and Families
Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Foundation sees an opportunity in the rich diversity of an urban setting to make young people aware of themselves in a tapestry of traditions. Its mission is equally focused on all schools, whether seen as high-performing or low-performing. The measures of success and failure should be defined from the perspective of each individual student and family. Young Spirit Foundation is concerned with the question of what it means to learn, to succeed, and to thrive as a human being. This is a question of philosophy and action.
Young Spirit Foundation is articulating a set of core principles to refocus education on the values that matter to a healthy individual and a healthy society. Through the application of these principles and their related practices, schools can engage a long-term process of change away from violence and alienation and toward greater peace and happiness. The Foundation is forming partnerships with a wide range of organizations to promote a common vision of wisdom-centered education.
The Foundation is currently engaged in the following projects:
- Communitas Charter High School, a public school that models the core principles
- The Children's School, an independent startup elementary program
- Local and national education conferences
- An affiliate network of schools based on wisdom and connection
Join the high school project
Learn about our successes
Read our core principles
See the resource page
Meet our board of directors