NEW YORK CITY (TIP): New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña announced, January 8, the launch of the 2015 Community and Citywide Education Council elections and encouraged parents across the city to participate and have an impact on their children’s education. Parents interested in becoming members of a Community or Citywide Education Council should visit NYCParentLeaders.org for more information. They can start applying on February 11.
The Community and Citywide Education Councils provide parents a voice in public education and an opportunity to make a grassroots-level impact on education policy. Elections take place every two years, and this year, the DOE is engaging in a citywide effort to reach all parents and raise awareness of these leadership roles, reflecting the Chancellor’s ongoing commitment to engaging parents and families in the important work of educating our children.
Parents serve two-year terms on 36 Councils throughout the City, including the Community Education Councils (CEC), Citywide Council on High Schools, Citywide Council on English Language Learners, Citywide Council on Special Education, and the Citywide Council for District 75. CECs in each of the City’s 32 school districts are responsible for approving school zoning lines, holding hearings on the capital plan, and providing additional input on important policy issues. Citywide Councils evaluate and advise on school policy concerning their areas of focus.
“Members of Education Councils have a unique and critical opportunity to help shape education policy and become transformative leaders in their communities,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “I encourage all parents to consider applying for a seat to become even more involved in their child’s education and make a difference in their school district.”
Parents interested in learning more about the application process and Education Council responsibilities should attend an Education Council Information Session. The first of a series of information sessions will take place at Tweed Courthouse on January 26 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
After applications have been received, candidates will engage parents and parent leaders at forums planned between March 18 and April 18. Officers of each school’s parent or parent-teacher association will cast ballots online for their preferred candidates between April 19 and May 8. On May 12, the results will be posted online at NYCParentLeaders.org. Elected parents will receive trainings and leadership development sessions, ensuring they are able to use their positions effectively to make their voices heard, advocate for students, and form functional Councils.
Each applicant for a CEC position must be a parent of a student enrolled in a district elementary or middle school, while applicants for the Citywide Council on High Schools must have a student in high school and applicants for the other Citywide Councils must have a student receiving the relevant services.
“Serving on a Community Education Council is one of the best ways for parents to lend their voice to education issues impacting public schools,” said Rashidah White, Co-chair of the Education Consortium Council (ECC). “Now more than ever, we need active and engaged parents to assume these important roles.” The ECC is comprised of Citywide and Community Education Council members and was recently created to foster dialogue among education councils.
“We are committed to cultivating parent leaders across all school districts,” said Nancy Northrop, Co-chair of the Chancellor’s Parent Advisory Council. “Volunteering on Education Councils is a great way for parents to become involved and make a real difference in their communities.”
As part of the broader Community and Citywide Education Council selection process, borough presidents appoint two members to each Community Education Council. They too urged parents to participate.
“Through Community Education Councils, parents can shape and support their neighborhood schools and influence decisions that affect the entire school system,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “I strongly encourage parents to apply for seats on their district CECs. Their insight, experience, and energy are crucial to improving our schools.”
“Parent leaders who are part of Community Education Councils advocate for those most deserving of your time and attention – our students,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “Even with all the challenges, there is no greater honor than representing your community and making Brooklyn a better place to live, work, and raise a family.”
“Education Councils are a great way for parents to become more invested in their children’s education and their future,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “These leadership roles give families an opportunity to share their expertise, support their child and help their community.”
“CECs are meant to ensure parental input in our school system,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “It is critical to have parents be an integral part of the decision-making process to shape and set education policies. As a mom of two young boys, I can attest firsthand to the impact that parental involvement has on our education system. Queens parents are some of the most active, vocal and effective in the city, and the difference is clear. The nexus of collaboration between families, educators and surrounding community is the key to the success of our schools.”
“I believe in the importance of civic engagement,” said Staten Island Borough President James Oddo. “One of the best ways that parents of public school students can get civically engaged is through participation on the CEC. I encourage those parents who want to be involved to consider sharing their talents and experiences by running for the CEC.”
New York City schools are also deepening their commitment to parent and family engagement with the Chancellor’s citywide parent conferences and the UFT contract, which includes 40 minutes each school week for one-on-one time with teachers and families. School communities across the City have used this time innovatively and productively, soliciting ideas from parents, scheduling parent-teacher home visits, and even hosting activities like a “homework diner” where educators and parents share strategies over dinner and bilingual parent breakfasts that allow for discussion of their concerns in their native language.
For more information, parents can visit NYCParentLeaders.org, a key resource for understanding the structure and roles of the Education Councils. Information available on this website includes eligibility guidelines, key dates, and frequently asked questions.
Community Education Councils (CEC)
The CECs work closely with the district superintendents, approve school zoning lines, hold hearings on the capital plan, and provide input on instructional and policy issues. Each CEC has nine members who are parents of students currently in grades K-8 in district schools, and two Borough President appointees.
Citywide Council on High Schools (CCHS)
The CCHS advises on education policy and issues involving high school students. The CCHS has 10 elected members, two from each borough, who must be the parents of students currently attending a public high school.
Citywide Council on English Language Learners (CCELL)
The CCELL advises on education policy and issues involving students in bilingual or English as a Second Language (ESL) programs. The CCELL has nine elected members, who must be parents of students currently or recently classified by the DOE as English Language Learners.
Citywide Council on Special Education (CCSE)
The CCSE advises on education policy and services for students with disabilities. The CCSE has nine elected members, who must be parents of students receiving special education services paid for by the DOE.