Chief Executive Officer Michael Durnil says the Indianapolis-based Simon Youth Foundation is planning to double the number of its Simon Youth Academies by 2023. The 20-year-old nonprofit's mission is to help keep high school students who are in danger of not graduating on the path to a diploma. SYF has released results of a new survey involving student feedback that Durnil says helps educators "become equipped with an immediate strategy" to better support students.
The foundation says academy leaders have implemented changes based on the data, which include trauma-informed instruction, gender inclusiveness training and boosting the emphasis on emotional and mental health. SYF's annual conference begins Saturday in Indianapolis and runs through Tuesday, bringing in participants from throughout the country.
In an interview on Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick, Durnil talked about growth and national attention for the foundation. One is a new student photography gallery at the Circle Centre Mall in downtown Indianapolis that was student-curated. The gallery is a partnership among the academies, Indianapolis Public Schools, Simon Property Group Inc. (NYSE: SPG) and the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art.
There are currently 35 Simon Youth Academies at mostly shopping mall locations in 15 states. To-date, more than 17,000 students have graduated from the academies, which boast a 90 percent graduation rate.
You can connect to the full study results, which came from a collaboration with San Francisco-based YouthTruth, by clicking here.