Coalition Structure & Member Benefits

The Dignity in Schools Campaign is a multi-stakeholder coalition made up of youth, parents, educators, grassroots groups, and policy and legal advocacy groups, which strives to ensure that those most affected by the education system and school pushout are at the center of our work and leadership structures. DSC’s Membership is structured to create a space for all to both contribute to the work and to benefit from the collective advancements of the coalition and local successes of its members. Additionally, members of the coalition have access to certain benefits and support.

See below for an overview of the coalition structure and decision-making, plus an outline of supports available to members of the DSC. Click here to download our full Membership and Decision-Making Policies.

Member Participation, Benefits and Support

DSC Monthly Calls and Committee Descriptions

Monthly Member Calls

Our monthly calls are open to all DSC members to participate in planning and decision-making about our collective work and to share updates about what is happening in local communities. The call-in numbers are provided via e-mail reminders to DSC members. If you are not receiving the reminder e-mails or do not have the call-in number for a call you wish to attend please contact DSC Campaign Coordinator Natalie Chap at or at 646-379-6499.

Monthly Membership Call

3rd Wednesday of every month at 7pm est/6pm cst/5pm mst/4pm pst

The DSC Membership calls are a space for members, especially youth, parents and educators who are unable to participate in the daytime calls, to: 1) Learn about successes and challenges from members around the country; 2) Share information and give input into campaign developments and Coordinating Committee updates; and 3) Discuss and vote on major campaign decisions to ensure that DSC campaigns and committees are accountable to the wider DSC Membership.

Campaigns Call

1st Thursday at 2pm est/1pm cst/12pm mst/11am pst

The Strategy Call is a space for members to discuss different topics or themes identified each month that impact our work as DSC. These may include: 1) Strategizing about specific issues related to school pushout, such as police in schools; 2) Considering whether DSC should take on new projects or activities; or 3) Giving input into planning for upcoming DSC events or activities.

Federal Strategies Call

4th Thursday of every month at 2pm est/1pm cst/12pm mst/11am pst

The Federal Strategies call is a space for members to learn about and develop federal policy recommendations and national action strategies for promoting positive alternatives to zero-tolerance discipline, and to plan DSC Days at the Capital.

Member Committees

Any DSC member can volunteer to serve on DSC member committees to plan and carry out specific areas of our work. Some committees meet all year round, while others form for a few months each year to plan out specific annual DSC activities. If you are interested in joining any of these committees you can contact the DSC staff person noted below.

Communications Committee

Permanent committee with monthly calls

DSC staff contact: Tafari Melisizwe,

The Communications Committee is made up of DSC member groups that meet monthly to provide support and direction for the campaign’s external communications, including messaging, press strategies, social media and web communications, video and overall communications strategy.

Strategic Planning Committee

Ongoing committee formed for strategic planning process 

DSC staff contact: Natalie Chap,

The Strategic Planning Committee is made up of DSC member groups that meet monthly (sometimes more often when planning specific events) to guide our Strategic Planning process to revise and/or develop our mission, vision, goals, theory of change and logic model.

Biennial Membership Meeting Planning Committee

Temporary committee that forms each year for 3-4 months

DSC staff contact: Lakita Jackson,

The Annual Membership Meeting Planning Committee is made up of DSC member groups that meet yearly for 3 months to help plan DSC’s annual meeting including content, activities and facilitation.

Week of Action Planning Committee

Temporary committee that forms each year for 3-4 months

DSC staff contact: Tafari Melisizwe,

The Week of Action planning committee is made up of DSC member groups that meet yearly from May-October to develop proposals for themes, timing, materials and activities for the Week of Action to share with members for final approval.

Election/Selection Committee

Temporary committee that forms each year for 3-4 months

DSC staff contact: Natalie Chap,

The Election/Selection Committee is made up of members who volunteer each year in the fall to oversee the annual election of members to the DSC Coordinating Committee. Each year some seats are elected based on a membership vote, and others are selected by the Election/Selection Committee from among the candidates to ensure diversity across geographic areas and types of organizations. The Committee typically meets from February to April.

Hiring Committee

Temporary committee formed only when needed

DSC staff contact: Natalie Chap,

DSC forms a Hiring Committee when we are hiring a new staff person. Members volunteer to serve on the Hiring Committee to review applications, choose candidates to interview, hold phone and in person interviews with the top candidates and make a final recommendation for the hire to be approved by the Coordinating Committee.

Coordinating Committee and Sub-committees

The Coordinating Committee is made up of 13 DSC member groups who oversee the work of the coalition and make internal decisions to ensure that DSC works towards the priorities set by our membership. 12 of the Coordinating Committee members are elected by members, plus 1 representative from the DSC Anchor Group, NESRI (which houses and manages DSC funding and staff). If you are interested in serving on the Coordinating Committee you can contact Natalie Chap,, to learn about the nomination and election process that takes place each year.

The three sub-committees below are open only to Coordinating Committee members.

Fundraising and Finance Sub-Committee

The Fundraising and Finance Sub-Committee is made up of Coordinating Committee members that meet monthly to develop and help carry out DSC’s strategic fundraising plan, identify grant opportunities and meet with potential and current funders, prepare and review grant proposals, prepare and review DSC campaign budgets, and monitor expenses. Because DSC is not an independent 501c3, grant funds are housed and managed by NESRI (DSC’s Anchor Group).

Program Sub-Committee

The Program Sub-Committee is made up of Coordinating Committee members that meet monthly to address key programmatic and strategic issues related to DSC’s campaign work. This includes discussing the strategic direction of the campaign, alliance-building, political analysis and education of membership, reviewing membership and decision-making policies, and other programmatic discussions that may emerge. The Sub-Committee will make recommendations to the Coordinating Committee and/or the full membership for approval of decisions in accordance with our membership policies.

Supervision & Governance Sub-Committee

The Supervision & Governance Sub-Committee is made up of Coordinating Committee members that meet monthly to develop and review staff job descriptions and responsibilities, review staff workplans, carry out staff evaluation, receive and respond to concerns of members regarding staff, and receive and respond to concerns raised by staff. Because DSC is not an independent 501c3, staff are employees of NESRI (DSC’s Anchor Group) and are supervised directly by Partners for Dignity and Rights Anchor Group representative on the Coordinating Committee in collaboration with the Supervision Sub-Committee.

DSC Member Support Funds

DSC General Member Support Fund

The DSC General Member Support Fund provides support for members’ campaigns on school pushout through reimbursements for: 1) Hosting and participating in local, regional and national events related to school pushout; 2) Developing expertise in specific issues, skills or strategies; and/or 3) Sustaining their overall programs and capacity.

DSC provides support up to $1,000 in the following categories:

  1. Hosting local, regional or national meetings or events – including expenses such as printing, transportation, food, supplies, permits, venue (e.g. conferences, actions, convenings, legislative advocacy trips);
  2. Participation in local, regional or national meetings or events related to school pushout – such as admission/registration fees, travel, room and board (e.g. conferences, actions, legislative advocacy trips);
  3. Training in skills, strategies or issues – such as training fees, travel, room and board; and/or
  4. Other program support – such as member or volunteer stipends, member or staff transportation.
DSC Week of Action Fund

The DSC Week of Action Fund provides support for organizations’ participation in the annual DSC National Week of Action on School Pushout.

DSC provides support for DSC groups’ expenses related to participation in the Week of Action each year.

DSC Coalition Leadership and Campaign Support Funds

Several times throughout the year, DSC also offers Coalition Leadership Support Funds and Campaign Support Funds to support members’ leadership roles in the national DSC coalition and to support their local campaigns. Active members can apply.


Scholarships to Attend DSC Annual Membership Meeting

The DSC Annual Membership Meetings is a large, annual face to face meeting of DSC member groups that serves as the primary forum for DSC members to give input and vote on major campaign decisions.

The goals of the Annual Membership Meeting are to ensure accountability of DSC to its members and build relationships among the members and staff of DSC member organizations.

DSC provides scholarships to cover the travel and accommodation costs for two attendees each from at least 25 DSC member groups selected through an application process.


Support Provided by DSC Staff

Strategy, Capacity Building and Campaign Development Support

Our National Field Organizer provides support to our members through one-on-one strategy conversations, in-person trainings in local communities and other convenings, and generally connecting member groups with capacity building opportunities that will help them meet their campaign and leadership goals.

Support Topics Include:

  • Developing Action Plans including strategies and tactics
  • Power Analysis
  • Alliance Building
  • Identifying targets and secondary targets
  • Leadership Development
  • Base-building
Communication and Media Outreach Member Support
  • Evaluate existing communications and media outreach capacity and infrastructure.
  • Assist with drafting a communications plan and media outreach strategies according to member capacity and needs.
  • Assist with producing and editing media outreach materials: press releases, media advisories, talking points, letters to the editor, op-ed, and press packets.
  • Assist with preparation and support for communications outreach efforts for events, new initiatives, and campaigns.
  • Provide virtual and in-person trainings/webinars

Media Outreach 101, part1

Introduction to media outreach, with an emphasis on building a media relations strategy for your organization, campaign, or event. Includes tips on how to create a media list, build your own local media list and the production and dissemination of press releases, media advisories, and letters to the editor.

Media Outreach 101, part 2

This second installment of the Media Outreach 101 focuses on “messaging” and building a long-term media outreach strategy for your organization or campaign. It includes tips on establishing long-term relationships with your local media and framing your message according to different audiences and goals.

Organizing Through Social Media

Using new media/social media as a campaign advocacy tool. How to use your website, e-mail blasts, Facebook, twitter and YouTube to get reach out to an audience, strengthen a campaign, and generate online buzz.

Documenting Events/Action and Promoting Via Social Media

Tips on filming video and taking photos of campaign events and how to edit, upload and share your final videos/photos on youtube, flickr, and via social media.

Spokesperson Training

Assist and prepare spokespeople with tips on speech writing, public speaking, and interacting with the media during press conferences and interviews.

Coalition Structure and Decision-Making

Click Here to View the full DSC Membership Policy

Coalition Structure

The DSC is made up of Endorsers, General Members (who serve on Monthly Calls, Committees, Working Groups, and the Coordinating Committee), Local Chapters, Staff, and the Anchor Organization. Below are a few details on the role each of those groups play in the coalition.

  • Sign National Resolution to End School Pushout
  • Sign statements and letters on a case by case basis
  • Include organizations and individuals
  • Do not shape or make decisions
  • Expand support base and build solidarity
  • Attend events and mobilize support
General Members
  • Sign National Resolution to End School Pushout
  • Commit to DSC Principles of Unity
  • Include Organizational & Individual Members
  • All members may participate on monthly membership calls and committees
  • Organizational members may serve on the Coordinating Committee (CC)
  • Shape Campaign Strategy via membership votes, committees, and monthly membership calls
  • Nominate and elect CC members
Monthly Calls, Committees, and Working Groups
  • Includes individual and organizational members
  • Roles and decision-making defined on calls
  • Send recommendations for CC approval
  • Shape campaign strategy
  • Generate research, campaign platforms, or statements
  • Organize collective national actions
Local Chapters
  • Locally initiated
  • Includes organizations and individuals
  • Formation of chapters approved by CC
  • Determine and implement their own internal structures and campaign strategies (in accordance with DSC principles)
Coordinating Committee (CC)
  • Organizational representation
  • Sub-committees drive internal work and draft proposals for vote by full CC
  • Co-chairs ensure CC responsibilities and tasks are moving forward
  • Make internal decisions (staffing, finances) and approve external decisions
  • Make key decisions in time sensitive cases
  • Supervised by Anchor Organization (see below) and CC Supervision Committee
  • Generate and implement work plans
  • Decide on day to day operations
Anchor Organization: Partners for Dignity and Rights
  • Member of the CC
  • Supervise staff and assist with implementing work plans
  • Administer finances and fundraising


See Figure 2 in the Full DSC Membership Policy for a diagram on coalition decison-making






  • General Members shape DSC decisions by voting on major campaign decisions and through consistent input and feedback in Working Groups, Monthly Membership Calls and email surveys that go into recommendations for approval by the Coordinating Committee.
  • DSC may utilize annual gatherings, polling and surveys to build and refine campaign strategies.
  • Neither the size of the donation by an organization nor the size of the organization itself has any effect on the scope of influence that any one Organizational Member of DSC may have in comparison to another.
Four scheduled membership votes:
  • The full membership votes at least four times each year on major campaign decisions. These votes will be:
  • One vote to adopt overall campaign priorities at the Biennial Membership Meeting, which includes reviewing DSC’s Annual Budget ;
  • One vote to elect new Coordinating Committee members; and
  • Two additional votes each year during Monthly Membership Meetings on major campaign decisions, such as:
    • Campaign demands, priorities and strategy, including Week of Action theme or message, positions on legislation and committing to major events (Week of Action, Days at the Capitol, convenings, national conference)
    • Changes to the membership policy.
  • After each Biennial Membership Meeting, the Coordinating Committee proposes topics for and schedules the remaining votes for the year.
  • Member groups not able to attend a given Biennial Membership Meeting or Monthly Membership call have two weeks after each meeting to submit their votes by online survey, email, phone or fax.
  • All Organizational Members and Individual Members are eligible to vote. Organizational Members submit one vote on behalf of the entire organization.
  • In order to vote, organizations and individuals must meet the DSC membership requirements, including attending at least six DSC National calls each year (Working Group OR Monthly Membership calls) and attending the Biennial Membership Meeting (if funding allows). Members of Local Chapters are exempt from this requirement (see “Special requirements for members of DSC Local Chapters”).
  • Major campaign decisions made through a membership vote move forward on their own, regardless of the support of the Coordinating Committee; the Coordinating Committee does not have veto power. However, in cases where Coordinating Committee feels a vote is not in line with campaign priorities it can share concerns with membership and present an alternate proposal for members to consider.
In between four scheduled membership votes:
  • Major campaign decisions that are not time sensitive are voted on by the relevant Monthly Call or Committee. The Coordinating Committee reviews and approves Working Group votes to ensure they align with member priorities.
  • Decisions that are time sensitive are voted on by the Coordinating Committee after gathering as much input as possible from Working Groups and members.
  • Decisions that are not relevant to a specific Working Group are voted on by the Coordinating Committee
Weighted Voting System
  • DSC will use the following voting weights
  • Group 1 – Individual Members: 1 vote = 1 point
  • Group 2 – Advocacy or Educator Organizational Members: 1 vote = 5 points
  • Group 3 – Youth or Parent Base Building Organizational Members: 1 vote = 12 points
  • Organizational Members self-identify as an advocate, educator, or youth and parent base-building group on their membership application. Organizations having difficulty determining which type of organization to identify as are invited to consult with DSC staff and the Coordinating Committee for assistance or guidance.
  • Decision rule: Positions with a two thirds majority of the total weighted points win the vote.
  • Quorum: For a vote to be valid, 50% of the total number of DSC Organizational Members must participate in voting.