YPP emerged from a rich historical and cultural legacy that stems from the Civil Rights Movement. The ideal of grassroots participation in community building is a central component of this legacy, facilitated by the idea of the meeting as a key tool that enables individual and community empowerment. It is in this vein that the YPP training can be viewed as a type of meeting, a setting in which knowledge and skills are imparted to the participants, and perhaps more importantly, a setting that enables participants to access and express their individual and collective leadership.
YPP’s training model was developed as part of a multi-year grant from the National Science Foundation - Division of Informal Math and Science Learning which yielded a cohort of national YPP trainers.
Although YPP has various levels of training – for high school students, college students, and for trainers – the essential goal of each is the same: participants will leave the training with a deeper sense of the way in which their personal and collective gifts can be used to enhance learning for others and improve the quality of public education for all youth.
Through an ongoing cycle of learning, practice, teaching, and reflecting, YPP MLWs learn the math concepts they need well enough to teach them to others and develop the social and professional competencies they need to facilitate the learning experience for younger peers - and to work collaboratively while doing so.
MLWs are trained by YPP trainers and paid a stipend or an hourly wage for their work – typically working 6 to 10 hours per week (high school students) or 10 to 15 hours per week (college students).
In addition, the Math & Computational Thinking Lab functions as an important training space for the high school MLWs in the summer and during school breaks to high school MLWs and middle and high school students. The summer portion of this program is held at MIT. MCTL summer program provides high school students the opportunity to continue their learning and dedication to math and coding. They attend a full day of programming, from 8:00am to 3:00pm. The daily schedule includes classes which are taught by college instructors and YPP staff; outreach where the high school students plan and teach weekly lessons to their younger peers attending summer programs at local community centers walking distance from MIT; and workshops led by experts or esteemed scholars in their fields. The weekly schedule also incorporates planning and design sessions for the end of summer Boot Camp. The program is designed to help high school students demonstrate competence and build confidence by teaching others. All high school MLWs received 60 hours of hands-on learning within the lab.