A multi-faceted and transformational program, Public Achievement continues to have a measurable impact on both participating K-12 students and their college coaches. Results from 2021-2013 student assessments support these claims.
At the conclusion of the 2012-2013 academic year, for example, 93.5% of participating Centaurus High School students indicated that they had the power to address salient community issues; marking a 27.5% increase since August 2012. Students at Escuela Bilingue Pioneer, where PA was piloted in August 2012, were similarly impacted. At the end of the academic year, 76% of surveyed students indicated that they possessed strong leadership skills, marking a 21% increase since January 2013. Given the collaborative nature of PA, participating students also strengthened their relationships with adults through the course of the academic year. Nearly 90% of Centaurus students indicated that adults listened to their ideas and concerns in May 2013, marking a 30% increase since August 2012. Centaurus students also felt more connected to the Lafayette community at the conclusion of the academic year. In August, 37% of PA students indicated that they had a strong connection to the Lafayette community; in May 2013, 75% of students believed they had a strong connection to the local community.
Cooperating Centaurus High School teachers and "I Have a Dream" program coordinators also find merit in the program. According to a community partner survey conducted in may 2013, 100% of partners agreed that Public Achievement provides a viable vehicle for civic engagement and youth leadership. One hundred percent of partners also agreed that the program promotes academic excellence, student retention, and access to post secondary education, and effectively compliments the AVID and "I Have a Dream" curriculum. When asked to cite specific skills that students acquire through their participation in pA, faculty and staff cited public speaking, networking, written communication, event planning, presentation, research, advocacy, team building, and fundraising skills. One hundred percent of cooperating faculty and staff also indicated that PA particpants become increasingly conficent in their interactions with their peers and adults throughout the process, as well as gain the capacity to articulate complex ideas.
Not only do students apply these skills in their academic coursework, but they also identify opportunities to sustain their commitment to public service. Currently, eight PA alumni, five of whom graduated from Centaurus in May, are serving as PA coaches as CU Boulder undergraduates.
CU Boulder students, who serve as Public Achievement coaches, are equally impacted by their experience in the program. In addition to gaining insight into education and democratic theory, studentsí worldviews are shaped as they are provided an opportunity to explore communities outside of the university campus. Commenting on his experience in the program, one student shared, "I was so surprised to walk into a classroom in North Boulder and be surrounded by all Latino children...You just don't see that demographic on campus, and it's eye opening for CU students to see people, who represent the real community."
Clearly impacted by their participation, undergraduates have changed their academic major or professional pursuits accordingly. While data continues to be collected, several INVS/EDUC 2919 students have been accepted to CUís teaching licensure program, admitted to the INVST Community Leadership Program, invited to serve as Teach For America and Peace Corps members, accepted to graduate programs in relevant fields, and obtained full-time or summer employment with youth leadership organizations in response to their involvement in the program.
See The RMC Research Evaulation Brief for a brief by RMC Research, which evaluated PA programs in the United States during the 2005-2006 academic year.