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Chicago Board of Education Announces New Meeting Structure to Promote Transparency and Public Engagement

26 June 2019

Meetings to Include Video Live Streaming, Additional Discussion of Agenda Items, and Spanish Translation Among Other Reforms

CPS Office of Communications

Phone: 773-553-1620
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Wednesday, June 26, 2019

CHICAGO – As part of Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, Chicago Board of Education President Miguel del Valle, and CPS CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson’s commitment to increase transparency and promote public engagement in Chicago Public Schools, the new Board of Education today unveiled a series of initiatives that will facilitate stronger monthly Board meetings. A total of seven priority reforms were announced shortly after the beginning of today’s meeting, which marks the first meeting under President del Valle and the seven Board members appointed by Mayor Lightfoot.

“To keep our schools on the right path, the Board must take advantage of all opportunities to promote transparency and increase family and community engagement,” said President del Valle. “On our first day serving the students, families and educators of Chicago, we have immediately instituted a series of initiatives that will provide for more inclusive and open meetings, and will help make our school system even stronger for families in all neighborhoods throughout Chicago.”

The following reforms were announced at today’s Board meeting by Board President del Valle:

  1. Public Agenda Item Discussion: To provide greater insight into items on the public agenda and allow the public to hear feedback from Board members on a range of agenda items, Board meetings beginning today will include a new section for Board members to discuss select priority items from the public agenda prior to public participation. Agenda items involving new policies, significant spending, and topics of public interest will be highlighted each meeting.
  2. Revised Voting Process: In an effort to provide greater clarity on the voting process, the majority of votes will occur following the public participation section of the meeting and before the Board meets in executive session, where legal and personnel items are discussed. All public agenda items will receive votes in advance of executive session, and item titles will be read to clearly note which items are being considered by the Board.
  3. Meeting Livestream: In addition to the video recordings that are posted to after each meeting, live streaming of all Board meetings will begin next month. This will allow members of the community who are not able to make it to the meeting to monitor the full meeting in real time.
  4. Translation Services: Following a successful pilot last month of live Spanish translation services for meeting attendees, the Board has committed to translate all meetings for Spanish language speakers. The Board’s goal is to accommodate as many people in need of translation services as possible, and the Board will look at potential opportunities to expand this service to other languages in the future.
  5. Advance Policy Posting: At the July 2019 Board Meeting, the Board will vote on a rule change that will require all policy additions and revisions to be posted publicly one month in advance of a Board vote. This change will provide members of the public with time to review and provide feedback on proposed policy changes in advance of the Board’s consideration.
  6. Additional Committees: As part of the Board’s commitment to providing greater insight into priority areas, the Board will create additional committees to build on the success of the current Finance and Audit Committee. New committees will be chaired by one Board member and focus on critical education policy issues. Committees will hold hearings at community sites and allow for additional public participation and engagement throughout the city. Additional information on committee topics and structure will be announced at next month’s meeting.
  7. Community-Based Board Meetings: Beginning later this year, the Board will again begin holding periodic Board meetings in the community in the late afternoon and evening. Hosting meetings outside the Loop will allow a larger group of community members to participate in meetings and provide valuable feedback to the Board and the district.

Chicago Board of Education Members

The new members of the Board of Education, who were formally seated today, consist of the following community members who bring unique perspectives and expertise to the Board:

Board President Miguel del Valle

As the first Latinx elected to serve as an Illinois State Senator and City Clerk of Chicago, Miguel del Valle has been committed to public service and education since he graduated from Chicago Public Schools in 1969. Additionally, Board President del Valle has served as Vice Chairman to the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC), working to make college accessible and affordable for students across the state. Board President del Valle holds an M.A. in Guidance and Counseling from Northeastern Illinois University.

Board Vice President Sendhil Revuluri

Born in Chicago, Sendhil Revuluri is committed to improving opportunity for children in high-need schools. As a founding teacher at the Bronx Academy of Letters, a public secondary school in the South Bronx, Mr. Revuluri was recognized as a Math for America Master Teacher. Subsequently, Mr. Revuluri worked in the CPS Office of High School Teaching & Learning and as Associate Director of the Suburban Cook County Mathematics Initiative, a project for collaborative improvement in teaching and learning benefiting over 40,000 K–12 students in 40 public school districts. Mr. Revuluri has served on the boards of several non-profit organizations and as a parent member of the Local School Council of Suder Montessori Magnet Elementary School. Currently, Mr. Revuluri is the Managing Director of Strategic Development at PEAK6 Capital Management, which leverages technology to manage risk in the options market. Revuluri studied at the University of Chicago and Pace University.

Board Member Luisiana Meléndez

Dr. Luisiana Meléndez is an Associate Clinical Professor at Erikson Institute and director of the Institute’s Bilingual/ESL Certificate Program. She received her BA in Psychology in her native Dominican Republic and a master’s in early childhood education and a doctorate in child development from Loyola University Chicago/Erikson Institute. Before working in higher education, Dr. Meléndez worked for nearly two decades as an early childhood and elementary teacher in the Dominican Republic and in the U.S.

Board Member Amy Rome

Amy Rome has dedicated her career to supporting all students and families to thrive, challenging systemic inequities that perpetuate gaps in opportunity within and across schools. For more than 20 years, she worked in and with Chicago Public Schools as a teacher, teacher leader, school leader, and principal supervisor. Amy served as the principal of the National Teachers Academy, where she worked closely with families and staff to lead significant gains in student achievement. Amy holds a bachelor’s degree in Chinese Language and Literature from the University of Iowa and a master’s in Language Minority Education from National Louis University.

Board Member Lucino Sotelo

As a proud CPS alum of Wells Community Academy and proud parent of two current CPS students, Lucino Sotelo has committed himself to community service and investing in organizations that help others achieve higher levels of success, with a passionate focus on educational equality. Mr. Sotelo currently works as the Chief Marketing Officer for KemperSports Management and previously served as an Executive Board Member for City Year Chicago. Mr. Sotelo has an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from DePaul University.

Board Member Elizabeth Todd-Breland

Dr. Elizabeth Todd-Breland is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Illinois at Chicago, with her research and teaching focusing on U.S. urban history, African American history, and the history of education. Dr. Todd-Breland is a CPS parent who has served as a community member on the Local School Council at William C. Reavis Elementary School, and worked with Chicago high school students as a social studies instructor and college counselor. Dr. Todd-Breland earned her PhD in History from the University of Chicago.

Board Member Dwayne Truss

As a lifelong resident of Chicago and a proud graduate of Chicago Public Schools, Mr. Truss has served his community over the past several decades as a current member of the Columbus Park Advisory Council, former board member of Raise Your Hand for Illinois Public Education and as a Local School Council member at a variety of schools, including at Byford (now Brunson), Hitch and Ella Flagg Young Elementary School. Mr. Truss earned his B.S. in Accounting from Northeastern Illinois University in 1985.

Chicago Public Schools serves 361,000 students in 644 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.