Education Advocacy and Support
SAC provides collaborative, youth-driven, non-legal education advocacy and support, at no cost, for low-income families in Washtenaw, Jackson, Wayne and Ingham counties. Advocates, depending on county, are available to help students in both general and special education with issues such as school discipline, special education needs, and behavior interventions and support. We provide discipline advocacy using trained volunteers in Wayne, Ingham, Livingston, Lenawee, Monroe, Oakland, southern Macomb and Flint. Please help us spread the word and post our flyer.
Why work with an advocate?
You may want to seek out an education advocate in the following situations:
- A student’s educational rights are being denied (IDEA, due process, Child Find, Michigan School Code, McKinney-Vento, Civil Rights).
- A student is being denied an education or is facing suspension or expulsion.
- A student’s safety is at risk.
- A family finds the school system to be unresponsive or unjust in the above situations.
Who is eligible?
Priorities include cases involving school discipline, out-of-school youth and school failure. Priority populations include low-income students who are experiencing homelessness or the foster care system, court-involved students, students with mental illness, students who identify as GLBTQA, and students with high incidence disabilities (such as emotional impairment and specific learning disability).
We provide assistance by phone to families throughout the state facing school discipline issues.
Student Advocacy Center is passionate about students thriving in school. When we work with any family, our goals include the following:
- Ensure the best plan possible for student success.
- Support the family.
- Help the family understand their rights, the process and the possibilities for their child.
- Improve communication between the family and school and ensure the family’s voice is understood.
Services (vary by county)
- Assess educational needs and goals.
- Review educational records.
- Provide guidance on educational rights and options.
- Assist families in writing letters to their child’s school or district.
- Prep students and families for educational meetings, including disciplinary hearings.
- Serve as an advocate at educational meetings, including disciplinary hearings, special education meetings, behavior plan meetings, etc.
- Partner with the family, school and if needed, service providers, to improve the student’s educational experience.
- Assist with school enrollment.
- Conduct follow-up as needed.
What we can’t do
- Guarantee a certain result.
- Become involved in litigation. We offer non-legal advocacy only.
Please see our Annual Report for outcomes on each of our programs. For example, 2014-2015 outcomes from Washtenaw County include:
- Overall engagement increased in 90% of cases (n=64)
- Average attendance went from 80% at the time of referral to 97% at the time of closing (n=64)
- 91% showed improvements in attendance when looking at attendance the month before opening the month before closing (n=54)
- 89% of chronically absent students increased or maintained school attendance rates (n=45)
- 90% of students increased grades or maintained passing grades (n=64)
- 86% of out-of-school were back in school by the end of the year (n=29)
- 82% of students with disciplinary concerns showed improvements in discipline (n=44)
Please call (734) 482-0489 or, if necessary, 1-855-688-1916. Intakes are conducted Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday mornings from 9 a.m.- noon p.m. during the school year. Our intake specialists will do their best to get back to you within 48 hours. We do our best to get back with parents calling about expulsion within 24 hours.We take cases based on student needs, advocate availability and expertise, and alignment with our values and case priorities. We apologize in advance that our advocates are generally not available for initial phone calls, even for “quick questions.”