Update about the Parent Advisory Committee

From Cheryl Camacho:


Please find attached the agenda for our next meeting which is scheduled for this Friday, December 7 from 3:30-5:00pm.  Please come prepared to follow up on our single action item which was to engage people to find out what they envision/think when they are asked what is parent advocacy? ; please feel free to speak strictly from your context.  One of our goals for the meeting on Friday is to come away with a shared working definition for “Parent Advocacy” that will drive our committee’s work.


Parent Advocacy Committee Agenda 12.7.12


[from me *grin*]

I briefly glanced at the Agenda – I am concerned about the Needs Assessment piece, partially because it seems like everyone is doing some kind of “Needs Assessment” but they are, more often than not, siloed efforts. How do we tap into all those other efforts? For instance, ACCESS Initiative recently (Nov 8) held a Think Tank (and here) where they did this kind of thing, but I cannot find where they report out what they found.


Another problem I have is trying to reach a broader audience with a question. I asked on this blog about Advocacy and I received zero comments. 🙂 I am not blaming you, just demonstrating how social media like blogs are not good for asking these kinds of questions. At least in my case. Maybe I need to be more provocative. I have asked several parents and friends in my own circles and have received a variety of ideas. For instance, one said it is an organization that speaks up for social justice and equity issues. Another said it was a way to represent another in legal matters. I am still asking folks.


Lastly, between this and the Social Justice Committee I am seeing a metric ton of overlap. There is a LOT of positive energy, but for me personally, the structure and format of these meetings drains my energy away. Maybe I crave more action steps. Maybe I crave more community participation. It is hard for me to put my finger on it; how do I get to the point of where I am satisfied with my own involvement in these efforts?


Cheryl ended her email with this:

Last, we are working with Dave Hohman, Champaign Unit 4’s Director of Instructional Technology, on creating an online space to upload information related to this committee.  We are excited about the level of transparency that will showcase and highlight this important work.  Just wanted to keep you in the loop.



Community Conversations: Healing (July 10)

  On Tuesday, July 10th from 6:30 – 8:30, folks from IBARJ and CUAP are teaming up with ACCESS Initiative and the NAACP to host a community dinner conversation around the topic of “Healing”. As space in the Robeson room at the Champaign Public Library is limited, they are asking folks to RSVP.

Healing. Interesting topic, eh? When I first read the flyer, I thought “healing” would be a hard sell so I asked a couple of the ladies who are spearheading this effort some further questions. Leigh Courtney responded with the following (in part):

[…] two main issues: first, the recent series of accidental shooting tragedies that have occurred, and second, the long-term rifts that have grown between neighbors and neighborhoods throughout the recent history of the C-U community.

When I read this, I think about the strained relationships between the African American community and the police department. I think about how many of our homogeneous cultural groups are fractured; you see a ton of people complaining, but not many people working for change and volunteering their time (and those that are, are very passionate and dedicated). I think about the ugly effects of racism, and in general the lack of cross-cultural understanding. I think about the Consent Decree that forms a part of the Unit 4 history. Yes indeed, healing would be good. Necessary, in fact.

What I love about our public school system is that it is one of the largest melting pots (if not the largest) of all our cultures, ethnicity and backgrounds. Our kids, irregardless of their skin color, their accent, their access to technology and what toys they play with, they are all getting together in the same classrooms. This wide variety means some kids thrive while others struggle. For me, the travesty and the pain is in how we attempt to force this living, dynamic miasma into our own mold, our broken mold. If only we could learn from our kids. If only we valued things like conflict resolution, cultural differences and basic, raw respect.

Wednesday Houlihans Jan 11th recap

This past week, we had Nathaniel Banks, Chuck Jackson and myself. I learned a bit and I hope I get most of it here.

One of the issues we discussed is the top-down management style prevalent in Unit 4 Administration. An example at Stratton was used whereby a majority of parent’s wanted to retain the longer school day, but the teachers (allegedly represented by the teachers union, the Champaign Federation of Teachers) did not. It sounds like the CFT approached Administration and eliminated the longer days. From what I hear, the parent’s were not involved in the decision making process at all. In another example, Read the rest of this entry »