Parent Advocates Win Local School Council Election with Wellness Platform

July 28, 2010

by Rosa Ramirez

Simply stated, a Local School Council
(LSC) in Chicago Public Schools gives parents and community a say in
what happens in their neighborhood public school. It provides an
official structure for parents and community to have a role in school
operations and ensure that their voices are heard. At HSC, we were
thrilled to hear about the newly elected
Little Village Academy LSC. 

In
the April 2010 LSC election, Little Village community residents elected
six parents to the LSC who strongly believe that “healthy students are
better learners.” The parents, who now fill all the parent positions on
the council,  are active in HSC’s Parents United for Healthy Schools
coalition and completed an intensive parent leadership training.


Parents
United for Healthy Schools is a coalition of parent and community
organizations that was formed in 2006 by Healthy Schools Campaign out of
concern for the skyrocketing rates of childhood obesity in Chicago,
particularly in low-income African American and Latino communities.
While it is not unusual to see Parents United members engaged with their
schools, it is an exciting and unprecedented success to see parents
advocating for wellness win all six parent seats on an LSC.


Every
Chicago public school has an LSC which consists of parents, community
members, teachers, and the principal of the school. The elected council
members conduct monthly public meetings, allocate  funds and resources,
make decisions regarding the annual school improvement plan, and
evaluate the progress of the school’s principal.


With
a strong belief in the positive connection between health and learning,
the six candidates ran on a campaign platform rooted in improving the
food and fitness environment of their school.  Experienced Parents
United advocates who had also completed HSC’s parent training helped the
candidates formulate and execute a successful campaign that involved
door-to-door organizing, recruiting volunteers, canvassing the
neighborhood with fliers, making phone calls, and most notably
delivering an important message: “healthy students are better learners.”


HSC
congratulates Maria Tapia, Josefina Torres, Fabiola Andrade, Erika
Martinez, Claudia Terrazo, Olga Bonilla for winning the Little Village
Academy Local School Council election! We wish them continued success in
advocating for students’ wellness.