Our program allows students to progress as they demonstrate mastery of academic content, regardless of time, place, or pace of learning.


Our goal at Community Youth Development Institute High School is to prepare our students to be “CYDI Ready,” which we use as a flexible concept that encompasses both college- and career-readiness. In many cases, students will work towards both at once- many of our students graduate high school with not only their diploma in hand, but also some college credit, work experience and/or a specific industry certification.

We are proud of the community that we have developed and of the 1200+ youth that have graduated from CYDI and have gone on to be successful adults.

What We do

Community Youth Development Institute (CYDI) is a community based alternative high school for youth that have not thrived in traditional settings. We are a successful alternative school because we offer a different program and different approach than schools across Chicago. We provide hands on curriculum that helps students gain marketable skills and prepare for life after high school.

Our academic system provides flexibility in the ways that credit can be earned or awarded, and provides students with personalized learning opportunities. These strategies include online and blended learning, dual credit and dual enrollment and, project-based and work-based learning, and credit recovery. This type of learning leads to better student engagement because the content is relevant to each student and tailored to their unique needs. It also leads to better student outcomes because the pace of learning is customized to each student.

Community Youth Development Institute High School Grads

Community Youth Development Institute High School Grads

We integrate core curriculum into work based learning opportunities throughout the program to get our students CYDI ready.  They get to demonstrate mastery of job-specific skills through curriculum that is both project-based and directly connected to the competencies they are working to develop.  Students working towards mastery of skills and competencies have increased ownership and motivation to complete given tasks and meet expectations.  It also gives students a sense of purpose, a high level of confidence in their abilities, and ample opportunities to develop essential 21st Century skills such as critical thinking, collaboration and communication in authentic contexts.

Our system to have all of our graduates CYDI Ready has multiple pathways to graduation, makes use of integrated instructional technology, takes advantage of learning opportunities outside of school hours and walls, and help identify opportunities to target interventions to meet the specific learning needs of students.