Thursday, Oct. 5

Governor establishes Illinois Parent Leadership Council          Send a link to a friend

New council will investigate ways to involve parents in their children's education

[OCT. 5, 2006]  CHICAGO -- Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich signed an executive order Sept. 29 creating the Illinois Parent Leadership Council to advise the Illinois State Board of Education on encouraging parental involvement in children's education. Research shows that children with involved parents have higher rates of success in many aspects of their education, including higher test scores and grades, better attendance, improved social skills, and elevated rates of graduation. As part of the governor's 2006 education plan, the Parent Leadership Council is an intricate part of an overall strategy to continue reforming and improving schools.

"Kids are far more likely to thrive when their parents are interested and involved in their education," Blagojevich said. "So it's imperative for us to look for the best ways to get parents on board and fully informed about how their children are doing in school and how they can support their children's learning. The Illinois Parent Leadership Council will fill the gap between teachers, the state and parents, making sure all parties are on the same page."

The last week of September, the Appleseed Foundation published a report that found a continuing lack of parental engagement. The study found that schools and districts do not prioritize parental involvement and that it is important for schools and parents to communicate on issues affecting student achievement.

"Parents have a very important part to play in supporting teaching and learning," said Jesse Ruiz, chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education. "When parents are involved, it builds a strong foundation of support for education. By getting parents, students and educators working together, we can surround our kids with a positive learning environment focused on long-term success."

"As an educator I have seen firsthand what a positive difference parental involvement can make," said Randy Dunn, state superintendent of education. "This council will look at the best ways to get teachers and parents working together on a common goal of helping kids learn."

In addition to leading Illinois parents, the council will determine the best practices for parent involvement and advise the Illinois State Board of Education on resources and materials needed to implement those practices statewide. The council will also submit an annual report to the governor's office with their findings and recommendations.

Earlier this year the governor signed Senate Bill 10, Public Act 94-0507, sponsored by Sen. Miguel del Valle, creating the Parental Participation Pilot Project and Project Fund. The current fiscal year budget includes a $100,000 appropriation for the State Board of Education to offer grants to schools for their efforts to improve parental participation.

Building on the work of the previous four budgets and legislative sessions -- which saw more than $3.8 billion in new funds invested in Illinois schools, the creation of universal preschool in Illinois, and raising graduation standards to require students to take more reading, writing, math and science -- Blagojevich's 2006 education plan includes the following initiatives:

  • Implementing full-day kindergarten and universal preschool.

  • Funding new school construction.

  • Helping school districts regularly replace outdated textbooks.

  • Extending the school year for underachieving schools.

  • Funding after-school tutoring for students who need extra help.

  • Helping schools afford special education teachers.

  • Encouraging school district consolidation.

  • Offering mentoring programs for principals and superintendents.

  • Helping schools afford new technology.

  • Improving school libraries.

  • Updating career and technical education curriculums.

  • Reducing school district administrative costs.

[to top of second column]

The appointees to the Parent Leadership Council are as follows:

  • Pricilla Cuba, Gages Lake, advisory board member, Illinois Federation of Families and the Latino Family Institute of Chicago

  • Brad Hemingway, Olympia Fields, member, District 162 parent organization and South Cook County Board for Junior Achievement

  • Natividad Hernandez, Chicago, member, State Board of Education Illinois Advisory Council on Bilingual Education and founding member of the Chicago Multilingual Parent Council

  • Theria Jackson, Centreville, member, Kids Hope United board of directors, retired librarian and teacher

  • Rhonda Jenkins, Millstadt, member, Millstadt Consolidated School Board of Education and parent representative to the advisory board of the St. Clair County Regional Office of Education

  • Janet Lochridge, Oak Park, guidance counselor, Morton West High School

  • Patrick McGuire, Joliet, member, Joliet Township High School District 204 Board of Education

  • Beverly Neisler, Pawnee, vice president for institutional advancement for Sacred Heart-Griffin High School and past president of the Pawnee Community Education Foundation board of directors

  • Doris Odem, Chicago, coordinator of the Urban Leadership Center, University of Illinois Extension office in Cook County

  • Minerva Perez-Materko, Carpentersville, bilingual facilitator and Title III coordinator for Community Unit School District 300

  • Barb Quinn, Elk Grove Village, president, Illinois PTA

  • Gayle Sheperd, Greenup, director of the Eastern Illinois University Reading Center

  • Kelly Stewart, Benton, superintendent, Benton Consolidated High School District 103

  • Sheila Stocks-Smith, Springfield, director of the Office of Education Liaison, city of Springfield

  • Suzanne Woods, Chesterfield, adjunct professor, University of Illinois-Springfield and member of the Illinois State Advisory Council on the Education of Children with Disabilities

[News release from the governor's office]


< Top Stories index

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law & Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health & Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor