President’s Corner

Greetings,

With Thanksgiving behind us I hope you all had a chance to share some family time and are able to plan for the upcoming Holidays, which are right around the corner.  Even though we all would like to take a time out, there are many things happening across the state that I would like to share with you.

As you know we have been heavily involved with the ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act replacement for NCLB no child left behind). I have asked for parents to provide comments and feedback of the good, bad, and things they would like to see different at isbe.net/ESSA. We have a new deadline for comments, which is Dec 27th, 2016.

What I am very proud of is the work and collaboration between agencies that has taken place. Both the State Board Of Ed and the Governor’s office have been very open and inviting to all stakeholders across the state for their comment and suggestions. Instead of working in the typical silos we are all working together.

However, with that said THIS is our opportunity as parents to establish the next 10 years of our children’s future and get it right. Our voices are important! Your feedback is critical!! Let’s ensure we have been heard because our children deserve a better future and outcome.

I also want to highlight that legislatively enacted was a commission called IBAM (Illinois Balanced Accountability Measure). Their charge is to ensure there is a good accountability system in place throughout the state’s education system. We have been working very hard and the draft of the quality framework can be found also on ISBE’s site at http://isbe.net/BAMC/default.htm  Standard 6 is Family and Community Engagement which is where we are currently reviewing and making recommendations.

We also have been working on strengthening partnership throughout the state with like-minded agencies. I want to share what the Chicago Public Libraries are doing and if you don’t have something similar in your area maybe we can have those discussions on how to share resources to get these examples around the state instead of re-inventing the wheel.

CPL’s Winter Learning Challenge is coming up shortly and it would be a great program to highlight!

This winter break, Chicago Public Library is excited to present the 2016-2017 Winter Learning Challenge: Mix it Up!  From December 19 through January 9, children are encouraged to explore chemistry as they read, discover and create. Children can visit chipublib.org/mixitup to find book suggestions special programs and hands-on activities that explore chemistry and the properties of matter. From creating slime to making bubble solution to cooking with an adult, children will get their hands dirty as they learn about the world around them. Log sheets in English and Spanish are available on the website. In order to complete the challenge, children need to read for at 20 minutes a day for at least 5 days and draw or write about an activity they did. Completed logs can be brought to a neighborhood library by January 17 for a special prize.

We all know reading and expanding opportunites is crucial to our children’s success. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to offer something like this to ALL the children across the state?

Hopefully you are also on our Advocacy list and have received our communication on our Call to Action. Lead in the water SB 550, need of passing a budget that is comprehensive and fully funded for our Illinois families and children, as well as, energy drinks not being sold to minors HB 5726 are key issues in our state.

Some PTA’s have an environmental committee and to those chairs I would like to share my experience at Standing Rock in North Dakota. It was a humbling experience to see, hear, and witness a different culture and way of life. You can reach me at mrodriguez@illinoispta.org for more details if you would like.

Have a blessed, happy, safe, and healthy holiday season.

Here to serve,

Matthew John Rodriguez

IL PTA President