“The community here takes LSC elections very seriously — just as seriously as Hillary and Barack,” said Darryl Bell of Teamwork Englewood.
The group is one of a dozen around the city working with “minigrants” from the CPS Office of LSC Relations to recruit candidates for April LSC elections. The deadline for candidates to file is March 12.
PURE recently posted an updated guide to LSC elections (pdf).
Bell reports enthusiasm among community residents for the elections — in part motivated by concern over the consolidation of the Miles Davis Magnet and Vernon Johns Middle Schools. He said the change could create trouble by requiring students to cross gang boundaries.
Bob Vondrasek at South Austin Coalition reports a bit more difficulty in recruiting candidates. Organizers have encountered some negative attitudes toward LSCs, he said.
“Some go bad. Some are controlled by the principal,” he said. “But even with all the flaws, they’re still doggone worth having. They’re the only way you can have some kind of voice in the school.
“At it’s best, a good LSC and a good principal are the two key things. You get more parental involvement and more community involvement.”
“It’s extremely difficult motiving parents to run for LSCs when the board continues trying to close or turn-around schools” — acting unilaterally, without consulting their LSCs, said Wanda Hopkins, a parent advocate at PURE and LSC member at Lewis school who’s working with SAC on candidate recruitment.
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An “Education Exposition” on May 16 will highlight the success of community and parent involvement in ten Logan Square schools.
A range of parent involvement, afterschool and community learning programs have helped double test scores over the last seven years in schools partnering with the Logan Square Neighborhood Association. Last year LSNA won the Leadership for Changing the World award from the Ford Foundation for building community schools which are a “national model.”
On Tuesday, May 16, starting at 6 p.m., 500 Logan Square residents are expected to join elected officials and education experts at Monroe Elementary School, 2640 N. Monticello, for small-group tours and presentations of adult education and tutoring programs along with martial arts, music, dance and drama demonstrations by students.
Parent involvement programs — including Parent Mentors, Literacy Ambassadors, Parent Tutors and Grow Your Own teachers — will also be featured, along with the Kelvyn Park High School attendance team. The group of mothers who reach out to families of truant students helped Kelvyn Park win the city’s most improved attendance record last October.
Over 130 mothers and fathers work daily in Logan Square schools as parent mentors, and hundreds of families participate in literacy and health programs, adult education, school leadership training and community development programs in schools partnering with LSNA as community learning centers. Dozens of parents are studying to become bilingual education teachers.
Logan Square’s Nueva Generation teacher preparation program is the model for the Grow Your Own program, an effort to develop teachers of color in low-income communities throughout the state. The state’s recently-approved budget includes $3 million for Grow Your Own programs in a ten-year effort to add 1,000 teachers in low-income minority schools where teacher quality has lagged and turnover rates are high.