Public Achievement (PA) is youth led civic engagement that promotes student voice and transformative change for individuals, schools and communities. CU Boulder undergraduates serve as PA coaches alongside K-12 students in Boulder and Lafayette schools. Throughout the school year we identify, research and take action on school and community issues. Together we work for justice on a local level and build public relationships that support students in using their voice to create more equitable communities.
Background and Goals
Public Achievement challenges traditional notions of citizen participation by placing young people in the center of their civic environment. Public Achievement was developed in 1990 by the Center for Democracy and Citizenship at the University of Minnesota (now at Augsburg College). The founder of Public Achievement, Harry Boyte, worked for the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a field secretary with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in the Civil Rights Movement. This experience led to the creation of Public Achievement; the impact of young people shaping society through organizing and civic participation is a legacy we continue in our work with PA.
University of Colorado Boulder’s Public Achievement program is housed within CU Engage. CU Engage is CU Boulder’s center for community-based learning and research in the School of Education. PA provides CU Boulder undergraduates with a meaningful opportunity of applied learning that explores education as a tool for democracy and social change.
History and Participating Sites
The University of Colorado Boulder launched Public Achievement (PA) in partnership with the "I Have a Dream" Foundation of Boulder County and the Boulder Valley School District in January 2008. Since then, PA has been implemented at nine school sites across Boulder Valley School District. During the 2018-2019 academic year, PA will be administered at Angevine Middle School and Centaurus High School in Lafayette, as well as Casey Middle School in Boulder. All of PA’s school partnerships are housed within AVID classes that promote college readiness and success. Approximately 250 K-12 students and 100 CU undergraduates will collectively participate in the program throughout the school year.