ELGIN - Parents and residents who want to learn more about School District U-46, recommend Districtwide policies and inform and engage other parents and community members, are invited to join School District U-46 Citizens’ Advisory Council, also known as “CAC.”
The CAC’s first meeting of the new school year is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 7, at 7 p.m. at Elgin High School, 1200 Maroon Dr., Elgin. It is open to the public and intended as an orientation for both new members and as an opportunity to learn more about the CAC for those who may be interested in becoming members.
The council, which has been in existence almost 60 years, is made up of volunteer parents and residents interested in local education who represent 53 U-46 schools across 11 communities. CAC members help facilitate communication between district administration, the Board of Education and individual schools, and the CAC provides meaningful feedback to U-46 on Districtwide issues and programs.
“We are excited to start another year with the support of our parents and community members who make up the CAC,” said U-46 CEO Tony Sanders. “The ongoing relationship we have with the CAC helps us to better understand the needs and concerns of our parents and residents, and it gives CAC members a greater perspective of how the District operates. Most importantly, it helps us maintain and create outstanding educational opportunities for our students.”
The CAC will be working this year to improve ties with ACE, the Alignment Collaborative for Education. The local organization follows a national model of bringing business and community leaders together to align local expertise and resources to increase student achievement.
The CAC oversees three standing committees: Curriculum, Family and Community Engagement (FACE), and Specialized Student Services. Curriculum committee members help U-46 staff determine and implement new educational programs.
“If you really want to know what is going on in your local classroom, then the Citizens’ Advisory Council is a great avenue to pursue that interest,” CAC Chairwoman Lisa Hopp said. “Members get a unique understanding of how their school fits into the bigger picture in U-46.”
The CAC’s FACE committee seeks to strengthen family and community involvement within the District. That committee started a popular outreach to local realtors to educate them on services the District offers, so the realtors can better inform prospective home buyers.
Specialized Student Services provides support and information geared mainly for parents of the District’s special education students. Membership provides a valuable peer experience for parents, Committee Co-chair Sarah Thompson said.
“The networking opportunities with the U-46 special education department and other parents present wonderful opportunities for parents of special needs kids,” Thompson said. “A lot of parents feel like they are alone in dealing with some of the challenges, but they’ll often find someone who has addressed a similar issue. It’s a great resource.”
The committee will again this year present a series of programs aimed primarily at educating and supporting the special needs community within U-46, though the general public is invited. This year’s programs are as follows:
- ● “Cracking the Code to Literacy in U-46,” at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 26 at South Elgin High School, 760 E. Main St., South Elgin. This program, intended for both special needs and the general student population, will discuss the five tenets of literacy and how they are taught in U-46.
- ● “A Necessary First Step to Access State Resources: The PUNS list,” at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 17 at the Gail Borden Public Library, 270 N. Grove Ave., Elgin. Attendees will learn who needs to be on the state’s Prioritization for Urgency of Need for Services list and why it’s important for individuals with disabilities.
- ● “Puberty and Your Special Needs Teen,” at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 23 at the Gail Borden Public Library. Parents will learn how to talk to their Special Needs teen about puberty. This presentation is intended for parents and caregivers only.
- ● “The Challenges Resulting from Continued Social Deficits: Solutions and Strategies,” at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 27 at Poplar Creek Public Library, 1405 S. Park Ave., Streamwood. In this program, parents will gain insights into the effects that social deficits can produce, and they will also be provided with advice on aiding their child’s social growth.
If you would like to volunteer as a CAC representative, please contact the principal at one of the schools in your attendance zone. You may also apply for “At-Large-Membership” by calling the District’s Community Relations Office at (847) 888-5000 ext. 5300.