For Immediate Release
May 13, 2008

Annual summit focuses on bringing Bilingual parents and educators together for success

Bilingual Parent Summit to focus on parental leadership, educational opportunities and community partnerships

Springfield, Ill. — The Illinois State Board of Education announced today that more than 500 parents and education professionals will focus on ways to help parents and districts alike better serve bilingual students at the Third Annual Statewide Summit for Bilingual Parents on Saturday, May 17, in Oak Brook. The summit is for members of the Bilingual Parent Advisory Councils (PAC) and other parents of students in language support programs to learn ways to form partnerships between schools and community organizations to become advocates on behalf of the state’s English Language Learners (ELL).

“There are many components that contribute to a student’s success inside the classroom – but one of the most important is their parents' involvement,” said Jesse Ruiz, Chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education. “The summit provides practical information and resources for bilingual parents on a variety of important topics, that will better equip them to help their children succeed in school.”

The summit will focus on four major topics: Pre-K-12 educational programs and services, higher education opportunities, parental leadership and advocacy, and community outreach and family support. This year’s summit features more than 30 concurrent sessions including responsibilities of PACs, rights of immigrant students, needs of bilingual special education students and how parents can be literacy role models. In addition, interpretation services are available and each session will be translated into Arabic, English, Mandarin, Polish, Russian, Spanish and Urdu.

“The summit is a great resource for parents. It teaches you a lot of things and allows you to network with your groups and organizations,” said Adriana Carpio De Palma, president of the PAC for School District U-46. “By networking at the summit, you can serve better your own community of parents. You know where the resources are, the services and what’s available.”

Districts that receive state money for Transitional Bilingual Education (TBE) programs are required to have a PAC that meets four times a year. There are more than 200 PACs in Illinois. More than 50 public school districts from across the state will be represented at the conference which will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Doubletree Hotel Chicago – Oak Brook.

The two keynote speakers for the summit are Lilikalâ K. Kame’eleihiwa, a senior professor at the Kamakakûokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies at the University of Hawai’i at Mânoa, and José Angel Gutiérrez, an attorney and professor in the department of political science at the University of Texas at Arlington. Other featured speakers include Chairman Ruiz; Illinois State Sen. William Delgado, D-Chicago; and Illinois State Rep. Cynthia Soto, D-Chicago.

Illinois Bilingual facts: