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Parents' Guides to Advocacy

We've curated the following resources to guide you through challenges you may encounter as grow your skills and learn how to hold systems accountable.

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Advocating on the Individual Level

Individual level advocacy includes your ability to communicate and speak up about issues that are important to you or your child.

Individual Level


How to Let the School Know About Your Concerns

Parent- Teacher Conference Checklist

Tips for Parent- Teacher Conferences

Sample Letters and Emails for Parents

Evaluation Request Letter

- Resources
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MAC IEP Helpline

We provide help for children who are facing barriers to receiving educational supports and services to which they are legally entitled.

Youth Conference

Advocating on the Local Level

Local advocacy includes organizing with other parents, forming or joining parent councils, and making sure all students in the community have access to equitable educations.

Local Level

Parent Councils

Description of Roles

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Guidelines: Special Education Parent Advisory Councils

Brochure: How to Start a Parent Support Group

Parent Councils

Often, community problems or issues are too large and complex for any one agency or organization to tackle. Putting together a coalition of groups and individuals can be an effective strategy for changing the programs and policies - in schools, business, government, and other relevant sectors - that are needed to solve the problem or achieve a shared goal.

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Advocating with PTA_spanish

Attending Town Meetings

Each town has a different way of running its Town Meeting, depending on its bylaws or charter. Sometimes the customs and traditions are written down; sometimes they are not.


This guide is a general outline of the Town Meeting Basics, some of the procedures may be used in one town and not another. The guide provides a broad overview designed to encourage you to find out more and attend your own Town Meeting.


If you have any questions regarding the specific procedures employed by your town, please contact your Town Clerk or Town Meeting Moderator.


Advocating on the State Level

To start advocating on the state level, it is important to have a basic understanding of the state's priorities, budget and key players. 

Key Players

Department of Elementary and Secondary Education: 

  • Implement and enforce policies around education
  • Provides leadership, oversight, funding, support, and accountability for approximately 400 of the Commonwealth's school districts.

  • Oversees programs that serve 20,000 adult learners each year.

  • Connection between Administration and Advisory Councils.

  • Implement Professional Development for the teachers and administrative staff.

Key Strategies

  • Determine the message you want to tell.

  • Be polite and professional.

  • Show facts and cases.

  • Bring pictures and/or emails to show evidence.

  • Have Petition and signature to show.

  • Establish measurable outcome.

State House

  • The State House works with the Executive Office, the Massachusetts Legislature, state agencies, and the Massachusetts Historical Commission in preserving, maintaining and restoring the Massachusetts state capitol.

  • Primary offices of all the Commonwealth's Constitutional officers are in the state house, including– 

    • Governor and Lieutenant Governor

    • House and Senate clerks, House and Senate counsel, and Legislative Information Services.

Key Strategies

  • Know your State Rep & their Aide.

  • Make an appointment with them before you show up.

  • Inform them about a bill or the work you are doing.

  • Keep them accountable the promises made, if elected, by remaining in touch with them.

State Level

The Ladybug Story: A Story about Lawmaking

Click the image to read the true story of how a second grade class helped to make a new state law.


The story encourages young students to use their voice to suggest new solutions -- showing that everyone has the power to make changes in the way things have traditionally been done.

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Contact Your Elected Officials

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Look up their email and other direct contact information via


Calling the State House switchboard:


Advocacy Resources:

Assessing the Landscape for Legislative Action in Your State from the National Association for Gifted Children

Family Advocacy Toolkit from the Massachusetts Education Equity Partnership

New State and Federal Funding FAQs from the Massachusetts Education Equity Partnership

Funding Needs in Massachusetts Letter submitted by the Massachusetts Education Equity Partnership

Advocacy Toolkit from the National Parent Teacher Association


For more information about the state's budget process, visit the Legislative and Budget Advocacy page from Massachusetts Appleseed Center for Law and Justice.

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