Our work in Education:

Pilsen Education Task Force

We work with the Pilsen Education Task Force (PETF) from the Pilsen Planning Committee to help students and parents of under-served communities in Pilsen, Little Village, Brighton Park, Gage Park, McKinley Park and Back of the Yards to improve the secondary education graduation rates, post-secondary education enrollment, civic involvement, and literacy rates.

The PETF is composed of area grammar school and high school administration, university representatives, parents and other Pilsen organizations.  The PETF is working on issues that concern the community on all grade levels. Every October, the PETF (consisting of GMC) holds an Education Summit every year geared towards educating  parents about higher education, and on how to speak to their children about education, health, drugs, and sex education at an early age.

We work closely with the Pilsen Planning Committee (PPC), which is made up of five task forces: Pilsen Housing, Pilsen Economic, Pilsen Community and Family, Pilsen Community Image, and the Pilsen Education. The purpose of the Pilsen Planning Committee is to construct  a strong Mexican community that is secure and healthy for all families while maintaining  the character and history of Pilsen.

University Round Table

The University Round Table consists of colleges and universities that are seeking to bridge the education gap in the Southwest side. With this round table in place, we are able to reach and inform parents and students about the educational opportunities available.

Members of this University Round Table:

-DePaul University
-DeVry University
-East West University
-Oakton Community College
-St. Augustine College
-University of Illinois at Chicago
-Arturo West Side Technical Institute/Daley College
-National Louis University and Daley College

ACT Prep Courses

We offers ACT courses three times a year (Fall, Winter and Spring ) to help juniors and seniors raise their ACT scores.  Fall classes begin September 29, 2012. Classes are ten weeks long and focus on Math and English, and on practical test taking skills. Our classes have consistently provided students with great results. Aside from working on ACT scores, our prep course also offers students information on how to apply for college, how to find scholarships, and on how to receive financial aid.

Register online Download the registration form

College Fair

Every year, Fiesta del Sol brings out colleges and universities to provide high school students, and families with valuable information about higher education. The College Fair committee gives students and their parents an opportunity to talk to recruiters from colleges, and universities in a casual setting.

This year, school representatives from DeVry University, East West University, National-Louis University, Illinois Institute of Technology, Lincoln College of Technology, St. Augustine College, and Northern Illinois University spoke to hundreds of students about their higher education options.  In addition, the College Fair committee provided financial aid packets and key information for undocumented students about the possibility and opportunities available about attending college.

The College Fair Committee strives to promote higher education in the Pilsen Community every year at Fiesta del Sol.  Stay tuned for next year’s College Fair at Fiesta del Sol in 2013.

For more information about our College Fair or how your school can particpitae at Fiesta del Sol, please contact: contact: Fernando Rayas at: 312-666-266 ext: 227 fernando@pilsenneighbors.org.

Academy of Parents in Leadership

Parent Leadership Academy

The Parent Leadership Academy (APL) is an initiative of Gamaliel of Metro Chicago. APL aims to provide an answer to the lack of parental involvement in schools and in the community. APL seeks to develop leadership in parents and help them understand the education system and civic engagement so they can advocate for matters that affect them, their children and the community. APL comprises parents represented several schools in the city.

If you are a parent who wants to make a difference in the education of your children, the Academy of Parents in leadership (APL) can help you. As a member you will learn to:

1. Understand other people in your school, church and/or organization;

2. Improve your community by working with people with interests like yours ;

3. Grow as a leader.


Goals of APL to:


Train parents on basic skills and concepts of relationship building, power in the public arena, advocacy for educational issues affecting them and their children.


-Develop a cohort of parent leaders that will be actively involved in the Pilsen Education Task Force Strategies and meetings.  Such issues as early childhood, English Language Learners standardized testing, health and wellness, violence and gang prevention and higher education issues, as well as coordinating and organizing the parents are the component of the Pilsen Education Summit this fall.


-Develop an education issues platform where educators, community organizations, elected officials will hear and address the needs of the parents.


-Coordinate a yearly meeting of the current parent leadership structures/committees of the Local School Councils, No Child Left Behind and Bilingual Education committees of the Public Schools.


Schools in the Pilsen area face limited parent involvement and leadership. Studies have shown that parents involvement is linked to student achievement, satisfactory school attendance and reduced dropout rates. The same studies show that when parents become involved in their children’s school, the benefits greatly outweigh the costs. Grades improve, children start modeling their parents, and family communication is strengthened.

The academy emphasizes on developing high levels of parent involvement to address the importance of leadership and to strengthen the Pilsen community as a whole. The project is part of the Education Strategy outlined in the Pilsen Quality of Life Plan.

Training is offered throughout the year. To learn more or participate, please contact Education Organizer, Fernando Rayas at: fernando@pilsenneighbors.org. Please view our Calendar to find upcoming training dates.


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