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Jacqueline Ross

2017, Equal Justice Works Fellowships, Jacqueline Ross

Jacqueline Ross

Name of Host Organization: Equip for Equality
City, State: Chicago, Illinois
Issue area: Education/Special Education
Sponsors: Discover Financial Services, Mayer Brown LLP

The Project

Jackie will create a medical-legal partnership in Chicago helping low-income children of color achieve literacy to unlock better outcomes for these children and their communities.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project
Despite the critical need for helping students achieve literacy through ensuring their special education legal rights, there is no public aid attorney exclusively dedicated to the literacy needs of students with disabilities. This gap in legal representation combined with CPS’ failures to comply with state and federal special education law has stagnated the reading achievement of students with disabilities for far too long.
The Right Person For This Project

Jackie is the right person for the project because:
• She received a Master of Science in Teaching, taught students with disabilities for several years, and specialized in literacy remediation improving her students’ reading performance on average of 1.7 grades in a school year
• Through her ChildLaw fellowship and clinical experience representing students in disciplinary proceedings, Jackie witnessed firsthand the intersection between juvenile justice and education

Plans For First Six Months of Fellowship

In the first six months, Jackie will:
• train developmental pediatricians serving Chicago’s highest-need communities to: identify literacy delays in their young patients; counsel parents regarding the educational implications of those delays; and refer these families for special education legal assistance
• set up on-site legal clinics in order to conduct outreach and intakes, identifying families’ special education legal needs
• provide legal assistance to parents and children, ranging from behind-the-scenes advice to representing individual clients and pursuing impact litigation
• meet with the Chicago’s Office for People with Disabilities to target the systemic barriers that continue to impede students with disabilities’ literacy progress