About First Things First

Core 4

Advocate Effectively for Students and Families

All young people need adults looking out for them, helping them find and take their individual paths toward academic success. IRRE’s Family and Student Advocacy System provides every student with an advocate dedicated to his or her academic success. Teachers, administrators, or other staff may serve as advocates, each one usually working with 15 to 17 students for the entire time these young people are in the school. Advocates use both data and dialogue to track the progress of students, and continually follow up with the students in their advocacy group, teachers, and counselors. Advocates also bridge the gap between home and school, meeting with each student and family together at least once a year and keeping families apprised of their student’s progress. IRRE’s Family and Student Advocacy System currently supports almost 50,000 students and families in schools ranging from small rural to large urban secondary schools.

How IRRE supports the advocacy system

Schools implementing IRRE’s advocacy system receive intensive support to:

  • Create the time and space for advocates, students, and families to meet and do their work.
  • Provide advocates with training and clarity about the boundaries and potential of their role.
  • Equip advocates with techniques for working more effectively with students and parents/guardians and for carrying out their other responsibilities.
  • Teach advocates to use professional learning communities of fellow advocates to build their repertoire of skills, monitor their own and other advocates’ work, and use data to guide what they do.


To talk about advocating for students and families, contact:

An IRRE Partner Practitioner

Sue Peterson
Weslaco East High School


Patrick Patterson
LBJ High School