Student Life 

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. We have seen many students thrive in our lab spaces: Aquaponics Lab, Construction Lab, Graphic Design Lab, Fashion Design Lab, 3D Printing Lab, Recording Studio, Multimedia Lab and Personal Care Lab.

Our school is effective and research supports our everyday practice to be highly relevant, great relationships with students and challenging students for success after high school. We make curriculum relevant and connected to student goals, interests and passions. We maintain low staff to student ratios. We connect with employers to provide work study, internships and pre-apprenticeships for our students. Many of our students earn college credits while enrolled at CYDI. Each student has a team to support their academic, counseling and social needs. Students have opportunities to exercise voice and choice throughout the program and determining their personalized pathway to success.

Our students participate in a wide variety of enrichment activities which serve to help students become well-rounded individuals and to better prepare them for college life. We strongly encourage participation in summer programs to gain comfort in new, diverse communities and to build additional skills outside the classroom.


Our enrichment opportunities take place both during and after the regular school day. Enrichments include:

  • Student Newspaper

  • Student Yearbook

  • Senior Prom

  • Choir

  • Drum Corps

  • Jazz Band

  • Basketball

  • Flag Football

  • Track and Field

  • Softball

  • Dance Team

  • Flag Team

  • Fitness Club

  • Social Emotional Support

  • College Prep

  • Student Handbook

  • College Tours

  • Luncheon