Our Work

Engaging and Supporting Local Youth

The Arizona Mayors Education Roundtable, a WestEd initiative, organizes events throughout the state to bring together diverse groups to improve education. Past meetings have included provocative discussions with state and national leaders as well as working sessions with local educators and community members. Join an upcoming meeting in your community to learn more and get involved.
"'College and career readiness' is the umbrella under which many education and workforce policies, programs and initiatives thrive." (Achieve, Inc., 2012)
With initial funding from the Helios Education Foundation, mayors from across the state have formed the Arizona Mayors Education Roundtable. The organization—managed by WestEd, a research, development and service agency—will provide an important way for mayors to have in-depth discussions about education initiatives and develop common, cohesive strategies for addressing local problems.

Local programs and initiatives in Arizona Mayors Education Roundtable cities provide a broad array of opportunities for youth to engagement in their communities, expand their learning experiences, and access support services. These programs and initiatives extend beyond the strictly educational settings to address a wide spectrum of the needs that can impact young people’s education, engagement, and prospects for future success.

Programs, Initiatives, and Resources


Youth Engagement      Youth and Teen Services in Phoenix The City of Phoenix has created a Youth and Teen Services department that provides targeted resources for youth in Phoenix, including sports leagues, employment programs, as well as a youth and education focused television channel.
PHX Teens Created with input from teens themselves and operated by the Phoenix Department of Parks and Recreation, PHX Teens provides opportunities for youth to engage with their communities through consistent, unified programming at sites across Phoenix. The initiative has produced a range of materials and resources that can facilitate youth engagement, including a mobile recreation van, promotional videos and posters, and an active social media presence.
Douglas City Youth Council (CYC) Mayor Robert Uribe and the City Council have approved bylaws that establish Douglas’ first-ever City Youth Council (CYC). The Council’s members—actively enrolled in public, private, charter, virtual, and home schools that span grades eight through 12—will reflect the diversity of the youth of Douglas. Members of the council will review problems facing the youth of Douglas, directly reach out to the community to collaboratively form potential solutions, and meet with the mayor and city council to discuss how to implement these strategies. They will also assist in planning youth and recreation activities in conjunction with the City of Douglas Recreation Department, Public Library, and Youth Activities Fund.
Mayor’s Youth Advisory Commission In 1980, the city of Tempe formed the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Commission (MYAC), recognizing the need for youth-driven input to help solve an array of problems that ranged from teen violence and substance abuse to a lack of enrichment opportunities beyond school. Thirty-five years later, the commission plays a critical role in developing solutions for these and other persistent issues, reporting directly to the Mayor and City Council. Members include youth from eighth to 12th grade that reside in or attend school in Tempe and are chosen to represent a variety of perspectives and interests across the community.
Youth Support Services   Video: Goodyear Forms a Cross-Sector Collaborative to Support Homeless Youth Educators, government agencies, faith-based organizations and community members all come together to provide homeless teens with host families and basic needs to ensure they can stay in school, graduate with a high school diploma, and gain the tools they need to succeed in college and career. 
Video: Marana rolls out its Cares Mobile beyond school to provide students with basic needs The Marana Cares Mobile navigates the streets of the community, offering nutritious meals, chromebooks, and literacy activities to students during school breaks and the summer months—all of which ensure they can focus on learning right when they return to school.
Community Engagement  Building Blocks to Great Schools The City of Goodyear established an annual Building Blocks to Great Schools summit in 2009 that brought a diverse cross-section of the educational community—from educators and school leaders to community partners and representatives from city departments—to the same table, discussing the programs and activities that could have a positive impact on Goodyear youth.
College-Going Culture College Connect Tempe’s College Connect initiative grounded in the belief that “anyone who wants to can go to college with the appropriate resources and tools.” Developed by Vice-Mayor Robin Arredondo-Savage, with partners from the education and non-profit community, this free workshop series enlists mentors that can provide resources, financial guidance, and support for low-income and first-generation students at critical points in the college application and admissions process.
Mesa Counts on College Five years ago, the City of Mesa, Mesa Community College, and Mesa Public Schools formed the Mesa Counts on College partnership, which is driven by the philosophy that anyone can achieve their post-secondary ambitions. Mesa Counts on College most recently opened an Access Center in August 2015, which ensure underserved students are aware about postsecondary options—and then follow through to enroll, persist, and eventually attain their degrees.
Attendance Video: Tucson Youth and their Families Join Together in a Pledge that Attending School Matters The city of Tucson recognizes that attendance is critical, starting with the very first day of kindergarten. In partnership with businesses and community organizations, the city encourages students and parents to take a pledge that recognizes this fact—and provides rewards along the way for each month of on-time attendance.
Out of School Learning   Video: Nogales Brings Tennis, Technology Training, and Mentors to its Youth The Border Youth Tennis Exchange (BYTE) in Nogales just launched a distinctive after-school program in January, in conjunction with the US Tennis Association (USTA) Foundation and the Boys and Girls Club of Santa Cruz County, that provides high-quality tennis instruction, youth development activities, and a specialized digital academic curriculum.
America’s First STEM City Founded in 2012 by the Flagstaff STEM Consortium and the Northern Arizona Leadership Alliance (a consortium that includes key businesses, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff Unified School District, and Coconino Community College), the “America’s First STEM City” initiative focuses on the need for all children to develop the technological, critical thinking, and collaboration skills that they need to be successful in a 21st century workforce. As a result, this coalition has engaged additional entities across the city in a multi-faceted effort to strengthen STEM literacy and sustain STEM initiatives, building 100 connections with businesses and government agencies just last year.