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The Summer Migrant Youth Leadership Institute (CO)


The Migrant Education Program supported and believed in Maria, and she now has the capacity to believe in herself.


Student Success

Target Audience:

High School Migrant Students, Migrant Education Program (MEP) Staff


Summer Migrant Youth Leadership Institute (SMYLI) 2016 began with an intensive workshop on identifying barriers (negative messages, beliefs, and past experience) that keep migrant students from moving forward and taking positive action in their lives. The workshop is very interactive, highly personal and requires students to share and engage. One particular student, Maria, was reluctant to partake in the program and often became a spectator. This behavior continued in the public speaking course at SMYLI. Maria refused to participate with her peers. Repeatedly, concessions were made at the summer institute to accommodate Maria’s insecurity and low level of trust. Our staff encouraged and supported Maria to meet her potential. Over the course of the eleven-day program, Maria started to respond more positively to our programming, staff and her peers.

Upon returning to her region, her regional advocate contacted the State to report how impressed her parents were with the change in Maria’s attitude and behavior, socially and academically, after participation in the program. At the regional Migrant Youth Leadership Institute conference, staff noticed that Maria had self-selected to attend the public speaking breakout session. Maria then applied for acceptance in the Colorado Migrant Education Civics and Close Up for New Americans 2017 Program, which culminates in a trip to Washington D.C. and a capstone presentation for the local school board. Maria will be representing Colorado at Close Up in D.C. this April. She will earn one civics credit for her presentation. The Migrant Education Program supported and believed in Maria, and she now has the capacity to believe in herself.

Student impacts:

The Summer Migrant Youth Leadership Institute (SMYLI) is a 10-night leadership program for Colorado secondary migrant students entering grades 9 -12 and OSY under 22 years of age. The purpose of the institute is to motivate and enable migrant students to graduate postsecondary education and become workforce ready. In doing so, program hopes student will achieve socio-economic equity and engage as civic leaders and empowered members of the community. Accepted students have engaged a mentor, performed a minimum of 16 hours of community service, submitted a letter of recommendation, a community service presentation and a personal narrative essay.

In the summer of 2016, 80 migrant secondary students earned a high school Language Arts credit through successful participation in the Language Arts Survey Course. Additionally, 33 students earned two Colorado State University college credits through successful participation in Foundations of Leadership and Effective Communication. Additionally, the Data, Program Evaluation and Reporting Department at the Colorado Department of Education evaluated the summer program in 2016 and all five areas showed significant improvement as a result of the program: Leadership (+.19), College and career Readiness (+.5), Civic Duties and Responsibilities (+.34), Communication Skills (+ .6), and Life Skills (+.21).

DISCLAIMER: This announcement contains information from a non-government organization that may be useful to you. Inclusion of this information does not constitute an endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education of any product or services offered or views expressed. The event may also give information that contains hyperlinks and URLs created and maintained by outside organizations and provided for the audience's convenience. The Department is not responsible for the accuracy of this information.

Contact Information

Mr. Tomás Mejia
State Director, Colorado Department of Education
Migrant Education Program
Phone: (303) 866-6592

Summer Migrant Youth Leadership Institute (SMYLI)