New role model

Previously I mentioned a trip out to Springfield. In the last few days as I have attempted to define myself in preparation for the public Candidate Forums on April 16th, I have realized that many of my desires and goals coincidentally align with a very special department in the Springfield School District, Family and Community Engagement (F.A.C.E.).

The front page of FACE that greets you is not exactly the most impressive thing you can find on the internet. However, after digging around, I was very excited. Take for instance this quote from the “About” page:

“Springfield Public School District defines Family and Community Engagement as school, family & community partnerships built on trust and meaningful communication that creates strong academic support systems for all students.”

FACE has also spearheaded a Parent Advisory Council (PAC) :

The Springfield Public Schools Superintendent’s Parent Advisory Council will consist of parents whose children attend Pre-K through 12th grade. The meetings will give parents and family members an opportunity to meet with the Superintendent and other district leaders throughout the school year.

Council members will:
• Be a cohort of parents that advise the Superintendent
• Provide input concerning district and school-related issues.
• Make recommendations in support of enhancing learning opportunities and environments.
• Advocate for issues vital to the success of schools, youth and families in our community.
• Further the District’s efforts in expanding family and community engagement/involvement
• Hear about and share information on current opportunities and challenges facing our schools.

These sound extremely similar to how I am building my own platform, and thus they are very exciting to me. It is really cool how the Superintendent (Dr. Walter Milton) has cast his full support behind this program as well.

I realize that family and community engagement is not any silver bullet that will suddenly cure all the world’s evils. I know it isn’t perfect. But to me, it seems to address a lot of the fundamental underlying issues we are struggling with in Champaign. And by “struggle” I do mean that people, whether employed by the District, elected to a Board, or simply volunteering, are actively working and fighting.

I am trying to get a hold of Peggy Cormeny (the FACE Coordinator) and Dr. Milton again. I am wondering if perhaps they can send a person or two over to Champaign to do a presentation as to how FACE got started. My plan is to learn more about FACE and then start pitching it to Unit 4. I have already dropped breadcrumbs, now I need set the trap. 🙂

PS – Meg has asked a couple questions of each candidate (the same two questions); I already submitted my answers to her before digging into FACE, and my replies will be posted later today.

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