YESPhilly is a 501(c)3 non-profit agency whose mission is to develop a broad base of opportunities for Philadelphia’s out-of-school youth to prepare them to become successful, self-sufficient adults. Since its inception, YESPhilly has provided opportunities to over 200 high school drop-outs per year. We have developed an educational model that prepares students for college and careers by tying together personal development, media arts and technology skills, and academic instruction to meet Pennsylvania standards for high school.
YESPhilly has invested in systems-building and development of best practices specifically for this population. In 2002, we produced the “Blueprint for Out-of-School Youth” which set many of the goals carried forward by Philadelphia Youth Network’s Project U-Turn, a campaign developed to specifically address out-of-school youth in Philadelphia. With the support of local agencies and foundations, we have designed new instructional models and curricula, as well as a model to utilize home visits to connect with student’s families. In 2008, we began receiving funding from the William Penn Foundation to develop curricula for students working toward GED credentials. With their support, we have prepared students to pass the GED test and tackle college level academics through an enhanced instructional model that addresses the needs of low-literacy learners.
Since 2013, we have operated the YESPhilly Accelerated High School, the newest member of the School District of Philadelphia’s Alternative Education system to give students a second chance to earn their high school diploma. Our academic curriculum systematically improves basic literacy and math skills, covers the materials needed for credit attainment, and develops college-level academic skills. Media arts and technology skills are infused throughout the school with several levels of media and technology classes, and opportunities to use media skills in all subjects. Our program and its project-based learning structure ensure that students become fully engaged and motivated as learners as they work toward their high school diploma.