Concept Young Scholars Program Case Study

Course(s): Concept Young Scholars Program (CYSP)-Extracurricular Program

Department: English

Institution: Horizon Science Academy Cleveland High School

Instructor(s): Helena Mitchell

Number & Level of Students Enrolled: 5 (9th-11th grade)

Digital Tools/Technologies Used: Google Classroom, ACT academy, Udemy extracurricular Courses, YouTube & Zoom

Author Bio: Helena Mitchell is a 4th year teacher at Horizon Science Academy Cleveland High School. She received her B.S. degree in Adolescent to Young Adult Integrated Language Arts (AYA ILA) from Bowling Green State University and is currently working towards her M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction Post-Secondary English and an endorsement for a college credit plus certificate from Cleveland State University.

Concept Young Scholars Program- A Synchronous & Asynchronous Extracurricular Opportunity for Students Who Are Learning Virtually

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Virtual school and extracurricular activities DO go hand-in-hand

When we typically think about students learning online and not being present in the school building, a common question arises; can students really participate in extracurricular activities while learning from home? The short answer to this question is yes and not only is it possible, it is imperative for our students. When students are in the school building, one motivational factor for them is their participation in extracurricular activities, so the mindset and expectations for students to be engaged in other activities that aren’t strictly academic should be the same when learning virtually at home. With that being said, our guidance counselor announced a virtual program that allows our students to participate in various online, extracurricular opportunities called Concept Young Scholars Program (CYSP). CYSP is a program that was redesigned throughout the 2020 school year to allow students to better engage in extracurricular activities at home. This case study will go into detail about this wonderful extracurricular opportunity for our high school students.

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CYSP-what is it and how does it benefit our students?

CYSP is a unique extracurricular opportunity that was designed to allow students to further their educational/social skills by practicing additional skills for standardized tests through online websites, participating in community service, engaging in online extra-curricular activities, doing a weekend activity with their assigned staff member, watching videos that are culturally different from themselves, joining virtual clubs, engaging in physical activities at home, meeting weekly with me to discuss any concerns inside/outside of the classroom, and attending virtual college/university trips. With our CYSP opportunity, staff members volunteer to work with 4-6 students in the following categories listed above. Our guidance counselor sent out an email asking staff members if they wanted to volunteer to work with a small group of students remotely. Those who signed up were asked to come up with a group name, and what their group would focus on. Finally, a school wide email was sent to parents and students explaining what CYSP was, the different groups that would be offered this year, and an application to sign up. In short, this not only gives our students the opportunity to become closer to their assigned staff member, but this allows students to be actively involved in the school while not being in the school. Many of our students are already struggling with online content and are emotionally down due to the fact that in-person clubs/sports have been cancelled, but CYSP gives students the opportunity to be engaged in our school, with a program that isn’t strictly focusing on academics.

CYSP is unique in its own way because students choose which group they want to be in. This process not only allows students to choose a group that shares a commonality with their interests, but is a motivational factor to keep them engaged and participatory in this yearly commitment. Students are required to complete certain activities a specific amount of times (the numbers vary per activity) throughout the school year. At the end of the school year, if students receive a certain amount of points, they receive 100 dollars and a plaque that showcases their accomplishments. In short, CYSP allows our students to engage in a cross-curriculum of academics and extra-curricular activities, building a closer relationship with a staff member, being active outside of the school building, and earning money for their achievements- all while staying in the comfort of their own home.

In terms of my CYSP group, I created an all-women’s group that is focusing on leadership and empowerment. About 90 percent of the CYSP groups are led by male staff and are comprised of an all-male group. Thus, I wanted to create an all-female group to give our young ladies the opportunity to be apart of a group that’ll help them build their self-confidence, voice, and leadership skills.

CYSP Categories

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I will briefly discuss the categories that our students can engage in through CYSP.

Community service: Students have the opportunity to participate in virtual community service. Two services that my students are doing is writing to cancer patients and tutoring younger students.

Online extra-curricular courses: is a great website in which students can take free courses. Courses that my students participate in teaches them about time management, speaking professionally, SMART goals, and how to think more positively. These courses are designed to help students build their self confidence through their voice and thinking.

Weekend activities with teacher mentor: Once a quarter my students are given the opportunity to zoom chat with me and we discuss life, play a game, and/or watch a movie. This gives students the opportunity to do something fun with their peers and teacher while properly social distancing.

Cultural Exposure: Typically, through YouTube, students watch a video about a country that’s facing issues different from the US, a different cultural norm, and/or way of living. This allows students to learn about a country/cultural that’s different from their own/their knowledge.

Virtual Clubs: starting at the end of October, teachers have started virtual clubs that students can join. Some clubs that are being offered to our students are the following: cooking, Zumba, choir, and video game clubs. All clubs are typically running through zoom, or google meet and allows students to do something active at home.

Physical Activities: Students are encouraged to work out at home, go running around the block, play a sport, etc.

Weekly monitor meeting: Every Thursday morning, my students meet with me one-on-one to discuss any academic concerns and how their mental health is. Meeting weekly with my students has allowed me to build both an academic and social rapport with them.

Virtual college/university trips: Throughout the school year, our guidance counselor puts together virtual trips with different universities that allows students to see the campus through a campus tourist who walks around and talks about the perks of that campus. This opportunity is open to all grades in high school because we believe that it is never too early to start to look at college options.

Platforms used

Listed below is a more concise list of the platforms that are used for CYSP and what makes it so successful:

  • Google classroom- used to monitor all students work and keep tally of all points accrued
  • Zoom-used to fulfill progress monitoring, weekend enrichment, and extracurricular activity categories
  • YouTube- used to fulfill character education, cultural exposure, and virtual college trips categories
  • ACT academy- used to fulfill the test prep category
  • used to fulfill the extracurricular activities category
  • Khan Academy- used to fulfill the test prep category

Point total chart

The total amount of points that students need in order to get the cash prize and recognition by the end of the year is 1300 points. We’ve just started the program on October 15th, 2020 and here are the point totals so far as of November 23rd, 2020:

9th Grader Total: 24/13009th Grader Total 150/130011th grader total 8/130011th grader total 52/130011th grader total 71/1300

Time management is key to staying on task with CYSP:

Considering that we just started the program roughly a month ago, I believe most of my students are doing well in this extracurricular program. Many of them are attending weekly monitoring meetings, and completing other requirements of the program. I do have one student who just got a job and, as a result, she is not as engaged with the program. As our students are engaging in online learning, upperclassmen getting jobs is a big commonality that we’ve seen within our juniors and seniors. I think one obstacle that might stand in my junior’s way is time management. It is imperative that all students learn how to balance their time with school, extracurricular activities, and work. This is something that I work with my students in our CYSP group.


Let’s face it- with any school led programs there are always obstacles that are bound to occur. When looking at my group, time management is one weakness that my students will need to work on to succeed in this program. Once students master this, I think not only can they be successful in CYSP, but that they can also have fun doing something that isn’t strictly academic related. In short, we have to remember that students might find school to be challenging. During the pandemic, they might find times to be even more challenging. We can’t forget that our students need fun, engaging extracurricular activities that they can partake in- whether they’re in school or learning online at home. I’m so glad that CYSP gives our students the opportunity to do just that.

              Work Cited

Concept Schools. “Concept Young Scholar Program.”, 2020,

“Udemy Free Resource Center: Find Free Online Courses.” Udemy, 2020,

Students are now given the option of fulfilling the requirements of CYSP online. Different platforms can be used to communicate between scholars and their advisors.

CYSP Virtual Process During Pandemic

Progress Monitoring

Scholars and their advisors can meet over online platforms to do Progress Monitoring Meeting such as Google classroom, Google meet, Zoom, WhatsApp, facetime, phone call and etc.

Only advisors enter their scholars’ progress monitoring meetings and log in their Concept SIS under “Progress Monitoring”.

Participating In Extra-Curricular Activities

Participating in Extra-Curricular Activities can be completed through virtual certificate programs, such as the ones in Udemy and Edx, or any other certificate program. It has to be a certificate program, but obtaining a certificate is not a requirement.

Examples of online certificate program areas may include Computer, Coding, Science, Math, Leadership, Productivity, Workshops.

Character Education

Students can complete Character Education requirements in a group discussion with their advisor on virtual platforms including YouTube, Zoom, Google meet, Google Classroom etc. The group must consist of at least three participants.

Weekend  enrichment program

Weekend Enrichment Program could be virtually organized/led  by a school staff member.

Standardized  Test Preparation

During the Pandemic, only online test prep programs (Khan Academy, Measuring Up, Study Island, IXL, Alex,  etc.) will be counted. However, online/in person tutoring will not be accepted.

Community Service

Students are able to provide community service with the help of virtual and socially distanced activities such as:

online tutoring,

knitting blankets or hats for hospital patients,

writing letters to those serving in the armed forces abroad,

children in medical isolation, or people under quarantine,

delivering supplies to the elderly or home-bound,

packaging supplies for students who need meals provided by their schools,

helping with public online schools.

Cultural Exposure

Cultural Exposure activities can be completed on virtual platforms by using Youtube, Zoom, Google meet, etc., with their advisor. Virtual Cultural Exposure activities should be prepared/organized by advisor. Students have to complete the Cultural Exposure Reflection form.

Cultural Exposure Reflection Form:

What did I observe about the culture I was exposed to?

What were some of the most interesting discoveries I made while working on this cultural experience?

How will I use what I’ve learned in the future?

Virtual Educational Trip

Advisors can arrange Virtual Educational Trips on virtual platforms such as YouTube, Zoom, Google meet, etc. Such a trip has to be carried out under the guidance of the advisor. Students have to complete a Virtual Educational Trip Reflection form.

Virtual Educational Trip Reflection Form


How has the trip helped you learn about the world?

What did you like most about this activity, and why?

I learned so many things; I learned …

Virtual College & University Visits

Similar to the educational trip, the advisor or college counselor would plan Virtual College and University visits by using the platforms such as YouTube, Zoom, Google meet, etc.

Bonus Activity 1

Students can receive bonus points by virtually attending a regional, national or international, and Concept Schools competition. (Robotics, science fairs, math and technology competitions, Concept Schools competitions)

Bonus Activity 2

Students will be honored with bonus points for enrolling in the Congressional Award and getting at least a bronze certificate. For more information visit the website:


CYSP has initiated an exciting partnership with Future Institute to build a college scholarship fund for Senior CYSP scholars. CYSP Gold Seniors students have an opportunity to improve their leadership skills and plan for college success. The program starts in 12th grade and requires CYSP scholars to commit to enrolling in the Future Legacies over the course of their college degree or career program pursuit.

Scholars who are committed to completing GOLD requirements will receive a scholarship fund of $2,000 per year upon successful completion of the Future Legacies requirements after high school.

Please feel free to contact her to get more information about the Future Legacies.
Iara Arai Aldape  

No bonus activities for seniors.

Gold Senior Required Activities

Future Legacies Registration and Tutorial

Registration to Future Legacies 

For more information visit the website:

The entry to Log:

Future Legacies enter Future Legacies Registration and Tutorial information in the Concept SIS student account under  “Future Legacies Registration and Tutorial”.

Future Legacies Progress Meeting

Attending Quarterly (4 times/year) online Junior Mentor Meetings.

The entry to Log:

Future Legacies enter Future Legacies Progress Meeting information in the Concept SIS student account under “Future Legacies Progress Meeting”.

College and Career Workshop and Survey

  • Attending 2 Future Institute College & Career Workshops (online)

The entry to Log:

Scholars enter their College and Career Workshop and Survey  information in their Concept SIS student account under  “College and Career Workshop and Survey”.

Junior Mentor Meeting

  • Participating Junior Mentor Meeting

The entry to Log:

Scholars enter their Junior Mentor Meeting information in their Concept SIS student account under  “Junior Mentor Meeting”.

CYSP Plus Categories “Parent Engagement”

During the Pandemic, Parents have an option of completing “Parent Engagement” virtually.  The following will be counted as “Parent Engagement”. To participate in Virtual CYSP activities with an advisor such as Progress Monitoring, Virtual Educational Trips, Cultural Exposure, etc.

CYSP 20/21 Requirements

CYSP 2020-21  9th 10th & 11th Grades
RequirementUnitMax # Unit (Cap)Point-per unitBronze Min RequirementTotal Point for Bronze Minimum
Progress MonitoringCount308 pts864 pts
Participating in Extra-Curricular ActivitiesSession(40`)805 pts1050 pts
Character EducationCount3010 pts440 pts
Enhancing Reading & Writing skillsCount308 pts216 pts
Weekend Enrichment ProgramDay2015 pts00 pts
Standardized Test  PreparationSession(40`)1003 pts4580 pts
College / Scholarship applicationCount105 pts00 pts
Community Services / Peer TutoringHour(60`)308 pts216 pts
Personal Physical ActivitiesHour(60`)603 pts2045 pts
Cultural ExposureDay1010 pts110 pts
Virtual Educational  TripsDay85 pts00 pts
Virtual College & University VisitDay512 pts112 pts
Bonus Activity 1 (contests)Count1100 pts00 pts
Bonus Activity 2 (CA)Count1100 pts00 pts

     Total Bronze Points                                          403 pts

Silver800 pts
Gold1300 pts
CYSP 2020-21 12th Grade
RequirementUnitMax # Unit (Cap)Point-per unitMin Requirements for BronzeMin Requirements for GOLD
Progress MonitoringCount308 pts88
Participating in Extra-Curricular ActivitiesSession(40`)805 pts00
Character EducationCount3010 pts22
Enhancing Reading & Writing skillsCount308 pts11
Weekend & Enrichment ProgramDay2015 pts00
Standardized Test  PreparationSession(40`)1003pts00
College / Scholarship applicationCount105 pts22
Community Services / Peer TutoringHour(60`)308 pts44
Personal Physical ActivitiesHour(60`)603 pts00
Cultural ExposureDay1010 pts00
Virtual Educational  TripsDay58 pts00
College & University VisitDay512 pts11
Junior Mentor MeetingCount812pts04
College and Career Workshop and SurveyCount812pts02
Future Legacies Progress MeetingCount212pts02
Future Legacies Registration and TutorialCount112pts01

     Total Bronze Points                                   146 pts

Silver300 pts
Gold550 pts

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