Want to get more involved in advocacy and get paid to do it?

The Investing in Student Potential coalition (ISP) is looking for youth between 14 –21 years old who have lived experience in Washington state’s special education system. The Student Potential Youth Advisory Council (SPYAC) will be a part of the Investing in Student Potential coalition, holding monthly meetings to help shape policy priorities, participate in the legislative session, and have opportunities to speak up about issues that matter to you. SPYAC members will be paid a stipend of $550 for their work from October 2022 through June 2023.

What SPYAC members will get out of the experience:

  • Use your voice to create change
  • Learn about state policymaking
  • Get to meet with elected officials and state agencies to share your experiences and vision for what change is needed in public education
  • Learn more about your areas of interest in K-12 education
  • Connect with other students with similar experiences and visions for education
  • Personal/professional connections who can provide recommendations
  • Compensation of $550 for participation from October 2022 through June 2023

Here are the ways you can apply to be a part of the SPYAC:

If you need other options or support to share your interest, please email jake@educationvoters.org or call 206-728-6448.

The application deadline is October 14th, 2022.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the SPYAC?

The Student Potential Youth Advisory Council (SPYAC) is a new initiative and program that aims to gather, support, and center the voices of students with disabilities in Washington education policy and advocacy work. The program is launching this year through the Investing in Student Potential coalition (ISP), a statewide advocacy coalition that is committed to adjusting our systems to accommodate the complex and diverse needs of students in Washington public schools. The coalition is searching for young people interested in disability rights, educational systems, state and/or local law-making processes, and tools for effective advocacy. The SPYAC will share decision-making power with the broader ISP advocacy coalition and help shape the future of this program for following cohorts. Our coalition also recognizes that a diversity of voices is a necessity for meaningful and inclusive work. We value representation as it relates to race, language, age, disability type, geography, school district size and resources, and more.

 

Who is eligible?

Eligible participants must…

  • Be a current Washington high school student, transition service recipient, or recent graduate (past 2 years)
  • Have a disability and lived experience with Washington State special education services
  • Be at the minimum age of 14 years old or entering 8th grade
  • Have attended or otherwise received services from a Washington public school for at least one school year
  • Have the ability to commit to monthly meetings for one school year

 

Can I participate if I am the sibling, parent, or caretaker of a student with a disability?

The SPYAC is intended for young people with disabilities who have lived experience with Washington State special education services. Parents and/or other supporting figures may be involved for the purpose of communication support or disability accommodations, technical assistance, attendance reminders, billing information, occasionally providing secondary feedback about experiences with schools (e.g. surveys, phone interviews). However, they should not be involved in speaking about what students want or need, in helping create the SPYAC’s mission & vision statements, or the SPYAC agenda items or decisions.

 

What is the time commitment?

The program takes place over the course of 1 school year (approximately October through June). We expect 2-3 hours per month from SPYAC participants. Most of that time will be dedicated to the SPYAC monthly meeting. There may be additional work or opportunities outside of the meeting commitment.

 

Do participants get paid?

Yes, we plan to compensate all participants $550 for their participation from October 2022 through June 2023 at about $50/month and a welcome bonus. If participants need to dedicate more time and work beyond the 2-3 hours/month commitment, we will pay them accordingly. 

 

Will I get to participate in the 2023 Washington state legislative session?

Yes! SPYAC members can decide how they want to engage in advocacy work, and participating in the legislative session is one avenue we are excited and able to support. Together we can work to set up opportunities for students to learn about the process, talk with legislators, testify on bills, and much more.

 

Is the program virtual, in-person, or hybrid?

Currently, we are planning to conduct the program virtually. In-person advocacy and other opportunities that may arise for students (such as involvement in the legislative session or local meetings) will be voluntary. 

 

How do I apply?

There are multiple ways to express interest in the SPYAC and apply:

Application materials will be available in a few languages, and others upon request. If you need translated materials, require other accommodations in order to apply, or have any questions, we encourage you to contact us via phone or email. Please do not hesitate to reach out.

 

When is the application deadline?

The deadline to apply is October 14, 2022.

 

How does the SPYAC plan to accommodate access needs and supports for students who join?

We greatly value accessibility in all aspects of the SPYAC program, and we want to make it a priority at every step. Please let us know about accommodations you may need to be a part of this group in your application, or reach out to us separately. We are ready to discuss and do whatever we can to provide the support participants need to feel successful. 

In addition to being responsive to participants’ requests, we plan to institute the following best practices:

  • All materials presented by the ISP steering committee should be written in plain language
  • Parental support and permission documents must be professionally translated into families’ native language upon request
  • Information should be provided often and stored in an easily accessible Google folder
  • Graphic representations and videos should be included in SPYAC communication wherever possible
  • Establish a communication plan with SPYAC recruits (co-creation)
  • Plan for breaks – approx 5-10 minutes per hour
  • Provide several different tools to collect ongoing feedback from students and follow up in response to feedback provided

 

What do I do if I need other accommodations in order to participate in the program?

We greatly value accessibility in all aspects of the SPYAC program, and we want to make it a priority at every step. Please let us know about accommodations you may need to be a part of this group in your application, or reach out to us separately. We are ready to discuss and do whatever we can to provide the support participants need to feel successful.

 

Position: Youth Advisory Committee Facilitator for the Investing in Student Potential Coalition

This contracted position will facilitate monthly meetings for the Investing In Student Potential’s Youth Advisory Committee (SPYAC) from October 2022 thru June 2023. Additionally, this position will coordinate with ISP steering committee members to ensure the SPYAC is fully supported in their work.

Read more and apply