Dr. Angel Wildes shares why she chose to become an education advocate
Cornerstone SEA started representing parents through advocacy in school meetings in 2015 as a parent liaison for a local school district. At that time it was just Michael and Dr. Wildes working out of an office in their home.
It wasn't long before word got out to parents that there was someone on their side who knew the struggles firsthand but had the knowledge and expertise to represent them and their student.
As the demand for their services grew so did the need for office space. In 2016 the Wildes moved their operation out of their home to a 423 sq. ft. office space in the Arlington area of Jacksonville.
Word spread further via social media, the website, and word of mouth. The demand for services became overwhelming. In September of 2018, Patti Rossi joined the team as an advocate. As a former special education teacher, her prior expertise and background was a perfect fit.
Cornerstone has outgrown their current office space once again and are looking forward to moving a few doors down into a larger 650 sq. ft. office space to help keep up with the demand.
The Wildes' combined years of experience as educators and administrators and the passion for doing the right thing has brought over 418 families in 174 different schools in 5 different counties over 5,000 hours of advocacy and the confidence and peace of mind that their students are finally getting what they deserve.
They truly are the IEP experts you've been looking for!
WHY IT MATTERS
Research and studies show that students with learning disabilities:
Can be misidentified as a "problem child" and overlooked for required psychological evaluations, research based interventions, or mental health assistance
Have misunderstood behavior issues that lead to improper punishments, excessive suspensions, or placement in alternative schools
Are three times more likely to drop out of school without any means of support or plans for the future
Have fewer personal relationships with peers
Are less likely to attend college
Are less likely to be employed, 62.9% of persons with disabilities are not in the labor force according to the Florida Chamber Foundation
Are more likely to be involved in crime. In U.S. jails, 49% of females and 39% of males reported having a disability. The disability types included the following hearing, vision, cognitive, ambulatory, self-care, and independent living which refers to the ability to navigate daily life schedules, activities, and events without assistance.
Through collaborative efforts with parents, schools and the community we work to:
Decrease behavior issues among students with disabilities in Northeast Florida
Increase the academic achievement of students with disabilities in Northeast Florida
Increase the graduation rate for students with disabilities in Northeast Florida
Increase employment opportunities for students with disabilities in Northeast Florida
Why Do We Do It?
Because children with disabilities grow up to become adults with disabilities. The disabilities just don't go away. How the school system is treating our children just isn't right.
We do it because 17% of all students enrolled in school in NE Florida have some type of learning disability that has been diagnosed.
1 in 8 youth have a disability that is either hidden or not diagnosed and therefore not properly accommodated in school.
In Duval county alone, 76% of single family households are headed by women. 47% of those are living below poverty level and struggling to meet monthly bills. 1 in 4 are raising a child with some type of disability.
SINCE 2015 WE HAVE:
Served 616 students and their families and adding to that each month
Worked over 5,650 hours of advocacy for parents of students with disabilities
Represented parents and their students in 182 different schools throughout 12 different counties in Florida
Avoided Due Process between parents and schools in 98.6% of all cases
Increased school provided services for students that expanded students' ability to learn, raised student grades and elevated success rates for both students and schools