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For Immediate Release
May 18, 2006

First Summit for Bilingual Parents
to be held Saturday, May 20

The Illinois State Board of Education is sponsoring the state’s first Summit conference for members of Bilingual Parent Advisory Councils and for other parents of students in bilingual programs. The conference is set for Saturday, May 20, 2006 at the Oak Brook Marriott.

Topics at the conference include educational services in bilingual and English as a Second Language; how parents can support their children outside of school; how to communicate and work with school boards.

State Superintendent of Education Randy Dunn will provide the welcome at the conference. Illinois State Board of Education Chairman Jesse Ruiz is also scheduled to participate.

Speakers include Dr. Lily Wong Fillmore and State Senator Miguel Del Valle.

“The event is a win-win for both parents and districts. It provides parents the kind of basic knowledge foundation – governance of school districts, programs and services, best practices for programs. – that they can build on and therefore, serve as better resources for their districts. For districts, it is a benefit to have knowledgeable parents who can make informed decisions and recommendations,” Ruiz said.

Districts that receive state money for Transitional Bilingual Education (TBE) programs are required to have a Parent Advisory Council (PAC) that meets four times a year. The summit covers many topics that should suggest the kinds of topics PACs and districts can focus on during the school year.

The event is expected to begin a networking process for a population that may not have developed connections with other parents in similar situations.

More than 70 public school districts from across the state will be represented, along with more than 400 participants registered (parents and administrators).

Most bilingual students have Spanish-speaking backgrounds; only a handful indicated Arabic, Polish or “other” (no indication on what “other” language is spoken.) Statewide, 80% of Limited English Proficiency students are of Spanish background.

In FY05, 156,350 LEP students were reported as receiving services in local districts.

About Dr. Lily Wong Filmore

Wong Fillmore, a strong proponent of bilingual education, was a professor in the Department of Language and Literacy, Society, and Culture in the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Berkeley, until her retirement in 2004.

Throughout her 30-year career, Wong Fillmore studied the education of minority students and the socialization of children for learning across cultures. She has authored numerous articles on the subject, and in the 1960s and 1970s, Wong Fillmore was instrumental in designing early-education bilingual programs for Santa Clara County.

Even after her retirement from teaching, Wong Fillmore's activism and scholarship continue. She is currently engaged in researching and revitalizing native languages in the United States among Indian tribes.

About State Senator Miguel de Valle

Miguel del Valle, D-Chicago, has served as a full-time state senator since 1987. The 2nd senate district is an ethnically diverse area that includes West Town, Humboldt Park, Logan Square, Hermosa and Belmont/Cragin. It also includes portions of Portage Park, Dunning, Montclare, and Austin.

Senator del Valle was born in Puerto Rico and grew up in the West Town and Humboldt Park areas. He is married and has four children. He graduated from Tuley High School (now Roberto Clemente) in 1969 and went on to Northeastern Illinois University where he received a B.A. and M.A. in education and guidance.

Senator del Valle is the first Latino to serve as Assistant Majority Leader in the Senate.

More information about the conference can be found at

Illinois State Board of Education
100 North First Street
Springfield, IL 62777