Brizard speaks to APL parents to discuss early childhood education funding

PNCC’s Academy of Parents in Leadership ask Brizard for support, and propose the implementation of early childhood education plans and other school programs for Southwest Side schools

In a meeting on Wednesday August 31, 2011 at Orozco Community Academy, at 10 a.m. (CT), over twenty parents from the Academy of Parents in Leadership, (APL) – with a majority made up of parents and several community leaders, gathered to meet with CEO of Chicago Public Schools (CPS), Jean-Claude Brizard to confer plans about education funding in Chicago’s Southwest Side schools, and to ask for support of other education efforts in order to improve the quality of education for children in CPS. Members of APL represented schools from Brighton Park, Little Village, Back of the Yards, and Pilsen.

Also present was, Steve Srike, CEO of Pilsen Little Village Network and Jamkio Rose, Chief Family and Community Engagement Officer.

During the meeting, Ruth Peña, a parent and former teacher spoke about the need for an early childhood education programs in Southwest side schools. “As a parent and former Head Start teacher, I can see the positive, social and emotional impacts of a full day program.”

Brizard agreed to work and support APL parents on benefiting from the 6,000 full-day early childhood seats included in the preliminary budget for fiscal year 2012. “Were trying to be very equitable…we targeted cities in the area with the greatest need. We increased the number to 6,000, but it’s not enough,” he said. According to Brizard, Mayor Rahm Emmanuel “launched a task force” that would look at early childhood education funding. 

In addition, parents asked for support on after school tutoring services, and on improving the Parent Involvement Advisory Council (PAIC) where parent involvement is “low,” according to Jose F. Henandez, President and CEO of the parent organization, Local School Council-Member Alliance of Chicago (LSC MAC) and member of APL. Herhandez proposed that PAIC “elect” parents to the council, rather than “appoint” them by CPS. “In this way, parents are engaged and involved”, said Hernandez, who is also part of the council.   “Those who have been appointed, do not show up to meetings and aren’t involved.” Brizard agreed to work closer with parents with parents in the council.

Rose, responsible for LSCs, parent and community group engagement will be working with APL parents on these efforts. Rose was appointed by Brizard last week.

“We believe that we can partner and support [Brizard] in the efforts of an extended day for schools, but we also need a commitment…for a bilateral benefit,” says Henandez.  “We want to benefit from the 6,000 seats for early childhood education and work side by side with CPS in the search and execution of solutions to the many challenges we face.”

The APL is an education initiative of Pilsen Neighbors Community Council and Gamaliel of Metro Chicago. The APL strategy is aimed to address the lack of parent involvement in schools and in the Pilsen community. The APL seeks to help parents become strong school leaders and advocates in educational issues affecting them, their children and the community. For more information about APL, call: 312-66-2663.

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