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:
- In 2006-2007, there were 186,484 Limited-English Proficient (LEP) students enrolled in public schools statewide. In 1990, there were just over 90,000 LEP students. LEP students include those who are eligible for bilingual education.
- For 2007-2008, the count is expected to be over 190,000 LEP students enrolled in our public schools. The increase accounts for improved efforts to identify LEP students, so services can be provided.
- There are 424 school districts with LEP students. This includes Regional Offices of Education and Special Education.
- In FY06, 138 languages were spoken by LEP students. This is up from 132 languages spoken in FY04.
- Spanish is still the language spoken by the majority of students – 81 percent.
- Nationally – The number identified English Language Learners in public schools (K-12) grew 95 percent over the last decade, with more than 5 million school age ELLs identified.
- LEP students increased from 6.2% in 1998 to 7.2% in 2007.
- The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) predicts that every classroom in the U.S. will experience an LEP student sometime within the next 10 years.