I've helped mobilize several major communities in Westchester County to address chronic truancy. Student Advocacy has been a powerful voice for families, and it has consistently helped inform our collaborative discussions with fresh viewpoints that have helped us understand how schools can make internal adjustments (relating to safety, transportation, school choice, special education services offered, etc.) that can help remove barriers to consistent attendance by children who have been chronically truant. As a result our collaborative work has been more balanced and effective. Student Advocacy has been widely recognized as a unique and vital resource for families experiencing educational difficulties, that helps families and schools work together more effectively.
Many of the youth who come to my shelter have long-term conflicts at home. We work hard to tease out all the factors contributing to the struggles. Not surprising, school related problems are often a major factor. Student Advocacy is made up of dedicated and intellent attorneys and advocates who get the student record, work to understand the complexities of the family and the academic struggle. They help parents (ususlly mothers, often single mothers with a list of their own problems) understand the child better and help them without blame get the right services so their child can succeed. They produce amazing results. They form bonds with youth and families that last far beyond graduation. They are a life saving tool for many. I could not have the success we have in the shelter without their work.
Feedback from families has always been positive. They have "moved mountains" to help children with emotional and behaviors isses get the right servcies and the right time.
We have often collaborated with Student Advocacy in seeking to remove or overcome educational barriers in order to improve educational opportunities and outcomes for children and youth experiencing homelessness. Student advocacy has also been helpful in providing technical assistance with educational law regarding the the rights of homeless students.