Education

Division of Youth Services
Education Mission

The Division of Youth Services addresses the academic, emotional, physical, and social needs of individuals by offering them a variety of programs and services that elicit the maximum potential of each student.

The curriculum provides a foundation of knowledge as it develops the skills necessary for students to think, reason, create, communicate and live in an ever-changing technological society. Our learning environment encourages accountability, responsibility, respect, self-esteem, commonly held traditions and human values.

The Division of Youth Services reaches out to guide and direct, to challenge and inspire, to reassure and encourage and instill a sense of self-confidence in an environment of genuine scholastic effort.


The Division of Youth Services (DYS) provides educational services accredited by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). Approximately 150 teachers are employed throughout the division’s 42 sites. Each youth receives educational services guided by a personalized education plan developed by the DYS education staff, the youth and his or her parents. Approximately 40% of DYS youth receive special education services provided by certificated, special needs instructors.

The following objectives for learning are emphasized for each youth in DYS care:

Students are assigned a full-day schedule of classes. DYS follows a twelve month school calendar. Each site’s educational program includes classroom(s) suitable for interactive learning activities; literacy, career and research centers; up-to-date instructional materials; and technology necessary for learning.

The DYS program of learning includes instruction in language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, fine arts, career education, personal finance, health and physical education. In addition, students study Missouri and U.S. government and complete the required Missouri and U.S. constitution test(s). The DYS instructional curriculum outlines the key concepts and course goals for these subjects and electives.

The division recognizes the importance of completing a challenging program of education. Every student is encouraged to complete their education by returning to public schools, graduating while in DYS, or obtaining a GED. While in DYS care, some students meet Missouri and DYS graduation requirements. The GED is a popular choice among students due to a number of factors, and preparatory instruction is available in all DYS sites. Traditionally, 75% of DYS youth who attempt the GED test pass the test. Annually, 78% of DYS youth improve their learning skills and make satisfactory academic progress toward graduation or completion.