On April 25, Parent Leaders to Focus on Creating Change

April 18, 2013

On April 25th, parent leaders representing more than 60 schools from across Chicago will come together for the 7th Annual Parent Leadership Summit.

When people think of conferences around matters of health and education, they may think of lectures and panels by and for academics and professionals in the field. But one critical stakeholder group is frequently left out of the discourse — parents.

HSC works to change that. On April 25th, parent leaders representing more than 60 schools from across Chicago will come together for the 7th Annual Parent Leadership Summit, a day-long event focused on providing a knowledge base for parents leading the way toward healthier school environments.

Part of HSC’s Parents United for Healthy Schools, the event enables parents to meet, exchange ideas, lead one another in workshops and acquire tools and resources they can take back to their schools and communities in order to drive big changes.

At the summit, regardless of their leadership experience or areas of expertise, they have the opportunity to create a power base and lay the groundwork for change on a number of issues, including:

  • Health disparities
  • School menus
  • Healthy nutrition
  • Successful strategies for school wellness teams
  • Models for successful recess at school and physical education
  • Ensuring effective implementation of new wellness policies

Over the past seven years of summits, parents have spearheaded activities and conversations important to them, their communities and their children. Many of the parents attending the summit have been major catalysts for change in their schools or communities already. They have served on school wellness teams, local school councils and other governing bodies.

Liliana Hernandez, a parent leader at Eli Whitney Elementary School, has championed fitness and physical activity at her school for years. She was one of the key leaders at her school on breakfast in the classroom, and brought her advocacy and strategy to the Parent Leadership Summit. At one summit, she brought lessons learned to her fellow parents in a different way, leading a dynamic exercise activity that got heart rates and minds active and moving.

Another parent leader key to the success of the event, Jose Hernandez, has been instrumental in giving Chicago students the opportunity to play and be active with recess. He was a pioneer in bringing recess back to his school before it was mandated. Later, he became part of the Chicago Public Schools Recess Task Force that helped bring recess back to all CPS elementary schools in the fall of 2012. At the Parent Leadership Summit, he was able to gain support for recess advocacy work and share strategies with other parents to create a more united front.

And the event keeps evolving. This year, for the first time, there will be breakout sessions for a full day, with plenty of opportunities for parent leaders to share information and ideas. These will be by parents, and for parents, covering a large number of issues relating to things like breakfast in the classroom and recess, to the implementation of wellness policies, to developing a wellness team in your school.

A keynote speaker will address social justice, health and community impact; several chef demonstrations, fitness activities and parent presentations rarely seen in a conference environment. Chicago Public Schools will also use the summit to further connect with parents and learn about issues affecting neighborhood schools. The summit has evolved from a very basic convening to a large, knowledge-based event, and we are proud of its evolution and of our amazing parent leaders who are continuing to carry the banner for healthy schools.  

The 7th Annual Parent Leadership Summit will take place on April 25th, 2013 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Arturo Velazquez West Side Technical Institute, 2800 S. Western Ave. If you are interested in signing up, please visit our events page, or contact Anayency Elizondo at anayency@healthyschoolscampaign.org or at (312) 419-1810.

If you have any questions about the event, please contact Guillermo Gomez at (312) 419-1810 or ggomez@healthyschoolscampaign.org; or reach out to Jovita Flores at (312) 342-0224 or jovita@healthyschoolscampaign.org.