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.
In the 2017-2018 school year, the Councils worked on some of the following solutions:
- Advocating for a wellness center and improved mental health resources
- Creating a bilingual TA program to support English Language Learners
- Coordinating school schedules with public transportation
- Updating unfair dress codes that target female students
- Offering extra-curricular activities
- Working with the District to improve student nutrition and food selection
- Surveying Novato high school students to examine differences in staff-student relationships on different campuses
Approximately 12 students in each school are selected by teachers, peers, and principals to participate. School sites are headed up by the following YLI staff:
- High schools:
- Middle schools:
- Elementary schools:
- San Ramon — Samantha Ramirez
Meetings are held twice a month at school sites, and 2 representatives from each school attend a monthly district-wide meeting with the District Superintendent. Interested youth can reach out to the site coordinator for more information about meeting times.