The Student Advocacy Council is a unique opportunity for students in the Novato Unified School District to lead positive school-wide change. Piloted in 2016-2017, the program was officially launched in 2017-2018 in elementary, middle and high schools throughout the District.
Drawing on the yli model for youth leadership development, the groups spend the initial months of the school year in capacity-building — leadership trainings, team building, and learning about social justice frameworks. Trainings are followed by research on issues affecting their schools and communities. In partnership with teachers, administrators and yli staff, the youth then develop and implement solutions to these issues.
Approximately 12 students in each school are selected by teachers, peers, and principals to participate. Schools include:
Novato High School
The Novato SAC, also known as the DEI Action Team, is composed of 8 students who are committed to creating an inclusive environment where all students can be celebrated for who they are through cultural events. In 2019, the Novato SAC was successful in helping launch the wellness center located in the East Annex which has flourished into a beautiful space for youth to receive the support they need.
Novato SAC meetings are held weekly during lunch in front of Ms. Cortez’s office. For more information, reach out to Wendy Pacheco.
Marin Oaks High School
The Marin Oaks SAC program was paused as a result of COVID-19 but prior to the 2019-2020 school year, youth presented to district staff on their concerns about racial justice and mental health among their peers. This year, Marin Oaks SAC is currently meeting bi-weekly on Wednesdays during the advisory period and will be deciding their focus for their campaign in the coming months.
For more information, reach out to Maria Navarro.
Hamilton Middle School
Composed of students from 6-8th grade, our goal is to uplift student voice, build leadership skills and host events that spread knowledge and celebrate diversity at Hamilton.
Before the pandemic the SAC worked tirelessly to create a fun and cozy lounge for students to use at lunch. We now hold our SAC meetings in this space.
SAC meets bi-monthy on Tuesday during lunch. For more information, reach out to Samantha Ramirez.
Sinaloa Middle School
Students from 6-8th grade from Sinaloa Middle School and the Virtual Learning Academy (Hailton and San Jose) identified and conducted research on the school’s dress code in an effort to amend it. The students successfully garnered support from the community, provided invaluable insight and data, ensured all student voices were accounted for, and set a precedent for a future project that is being supervised by the NUSD assistant superintendent.
For more information, reach out to Sonia Saltzman.