Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Advocacy Alert #2 for Florida’s School Counselors

Advocacy Alert #2  for Florida’s School Counselors-
From the Desk of LeAnn Pollard, FSCA Advocacy Committee

In the last Advocacy Alert, we explored the Florida Senate website and began working to develop a personal advocacy contact list.  I want to continue by introducing you to the Florida House of Representatives website and show you how it can be used to locate additional information about representatives, House Committees, and Bills in the House.
  1. Locate the Florida House of Representatives website

    Mark this site as a “favorite” for future reference.
2.            From “Home” you will notice many links; find “Representatives” and double-click to see an alphabetical listing of all Florida Representatives.  When you drag your mouse over the name of the Representative, you will see an information box pop up.  There is a photo, along with contact information for each representative in the state.
  1. I used this information to update the personal advocacy contact list started last time from the senate website.  In some cases, the information was the same.  I did like having the photos available so that I can recognize faces when I visit Tallahassee in the Spring.
  1. Additional information on this site includes links to Committees.  In the House, there are several committees related to the work of education in our state:  Appropriations PK-12, Appropriations Higher Education, Education (K-20 Competitiveness), Education (K-20 Innovation).  We will explore more about the work of each of these different committees later.  
  1. Continue to explore the My Florida House website and look for the Committee links (later the names of the committee members will be listed, once appointments are made).  See if you can find other helpful information like, “How to track a bill?”
  1. Now is a good time to send an introductory letter or email to your legislators.  Tell them about yourself and your work as a school counselor.  Include information (data) about a problem in your district or state such as graduation rates, number of students per school counselor, etc.  Use the FSCA Advocacy platform points for assistance to make your point.  Give your contact information and encourage a response from the lawmaker.

     ** While working for a public agency, you should consider that all correspondence, whether by e-mail, written or otherwise is a public document and subject to public records requests by anyone who requests the information. For this reason, FSCA strongly recommends you do all advocacy correspondence from your personal (home) computer and not linked through a school district server.

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