Photo of Zoe Masters

Zoe Masters

  • Hosted by Education Law Center
  • Sponsored by Greenberg Traurig, LLP
  • Service location Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Law school Yale Law School
  • Issue area Children/Youth, Education/Special Education
  • Fellowship class year 2022
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Zoe (she/her/hers) will work with young people who attend alternative and nontraditional public schools in greater Philadelphia to educate them on their civil rights and support them in building power to advocate for more meaningful, accessible, and effective pathways to graduation.

One in five Philadelphia ninth-graders will attend an alternative or nontraditional school during their educational career. Many of the approximately 5,000 students who currently attend these schools have had their education interrupted by being pushed out of traditional schools, experiencing homelessness, or being incarcerated, on top of continually experiencing the effects of interlocking systems of racism and criminalization of poverty. Instead of reversing discriminatory patterns of pushout and helping every student remain in school and graduate, alternative schools often exacerbate pushout by adopting exclusionary policies, collecting limited data about barriers students encounter, and having very little accountability. These problems persist despite federal and state laws that protect all Pennsylvania students’ ability to access public education.

Fellowship Plans

Zoe will build on the Education Law Center’s existing relationships with Philadelphia-area youth organizations and child-serving providers to address the concerns of young people who attend alternative schools. She will undertake individual representation to enforce students’ federal, state, and local education civil rights in enrollment, special education, anti-harassment and bullying, and school discipline matters. Her work will ensure that alternative schools enroll students promptly and provide appropriate special education services, English language instruction, and due process in school discipline proceedings. Informed by community relationships and research into accountability gaps, she will support young people who attend alternative schools to build power and develop a focused advocacy campaign that pushes alternative schools to provide more meaningful, effective, and accessible programming.

Media

Greenberg Traurig Names its 2022 Equal Justice Works Fellows

In my six years as a high school educator, my students’ feedback pushed me every day to build a more supportive, inclusive classroom. My goal as a lawyer is not only to make sure that my clients receive a high-quality public education; it is to help them build power so they have a say in advocating for schools that fully support them and help them thrive.

Zoe Masters /
2022 Equal Justice Works Fellow

Meet Other Fellows Like Zoe

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Hasti Anderson

Host: Florida's Children First

Sponsor: Greenberg Traurig, LLP, The Florida Bar Foundation

Lori Turner

Host: Roger Baldwin Foundation of ACLU of Illinois

Sponsor: McDermott Will & Emery LLP

Renee Erline

Host: Children's Law Center of DC

Sponsor: The Morrison & Foerster Foundation

Kathleen Ford

Host: Sacramento Child Advocates, Inc.

Sponsor: Greenberg Traurig, LLP