EBCLO’s Dan Senter is the most recent bay area recipient of the Jefferson Award.  The Jefferson Award is, on the local level, a community hero award recognizing “ordinary people who do extraordinary things without the expectation of recognition or reward.”    Local award winners can move on to be recognized nationally and have, in the past included Supreme Court Justices, First Ladies and many more historical figures in our times.  Most exciting of all is that local winners are all profiled on KPIX and KCBS!  Tune in this week to see Dan: On KPIX Channel 5: 8/21 at 6:00 p.m.; 8/22 at 12:00 p.m. & 8/24 at 7:00 a.m.  Or on the radio at KCBS 106.9 FM or 740 AM on 8/21 at 6:50 p.m., 9:40 p.m. and 11:50 p.m. or on 8/25 at 11:50 a.m. and 3:50 p.m.  Or if you don’t live around here, check out:  http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2013/08/21/jefferson-award-winner-helps-east-bay-foster-youth-achieve-more/.

Dan is a worthy addition to the list of Jefferson Award winners, and EBCLO could not be more proud.  If you don’t know Dan, let us tell you a little more about him . . .Dan Senter is a former special education teacher who went to law school to bring educational equity to disadvantaged youth. He developed EBCLO’s Education Advocacy Program. Three years into its existence, through many long evening and weekend hours, but with a steadfast dedication to children, Daniel’s program has helped hundreds of foster youth.

Daniel is on the ground at hundreds of IEP (Individualized Education Plan) meetings for our foster youth.  He is going to the youth’s school and meeting with teachers, counselors, school psychologists, administrators, foster parents and others to make sure that the youth is receiving appropriate academic supports and related mental health services.  Sometimes it means he is just being a little bit of a squeaky wheel.  Sometimes it means he is educating school personnel about some of the special needs or rights foster youth have.  Sometimes it means he is challenging an entire district’s compliance with federal and state law.  He also defends our clients in expulsion proceedings, and he has nearly a 100% success rate in preventing expulsions.

Dan’s innovative Education Advocacy Program recognizes that an attorney’s job for a foster youth must go beyond the walls of the juvenile courtroom.  And he continues to develop new ideas to further the educational success of foster youth.  He is about to complete an evaluation of a pilot program he developed to measure the success of EBCLO’s third grade clients.  Based on the premise that children learn to read through third grade and read to learn after third grade, Daniel did not want any more foster youth to fall into a cycle of educational failure that only becomes harder to break.

He has also trained dozens of other foster youth advocates, including Berkeley Law students and Court Appointed Special Advocates, so that Alameda County’s foster youth have a whole cadre of adults looking out for their educational rights.

Congratulations Dan!  We will all be tuned in to watch you this week!