Seeking 325 Parents of Students for Community Education Councils

Yolanda Torres, executive superintendent for the Department of Education’s Division of Family and Community Engagement. (Photo by Javier Castaño via Queens Latino)

The New York City Community Education Councils are seeking 325 parents who meet the following requirements: passion for education, an interest in learning the ins and outs of the education system and a desire to make a difference in the community.

“These parents will learn from Chancellor Carmen Fariña and from attending the monthly meeting, in addition to influencing school policy,” said Yolanda Torres, executive superintendent for the Division of Family and Community Engagement of the Department of Education (DOE). “It is not necessary to have legal immigration status or speak English, as translators will always be available.”

Parents interested in taking part in these education councils may visit NYCParentLeaders.org before March 5 to nominate themselves. [Editor’s update: The Dept. of Education has extended the deadline until March 10.] They may also text “101” to 877-877 to receive a guide in Spanish. The DOE has also launched a campaign in nine languages, including Spanish, to provide information.

Parents with children attending grades pre-K to 8 in public schools may run for the Community Education Councils. Parents with children in high school may nominate themselves to the Citywide Council on High Schools.

For the remaining three councils (D75, English Language Learners and Special Education), parents must have a child in one of the corresponding programs.

“In these difficult times for immigrants, when fear exists, these parents getting involved in education councils are an example of the positive social impact they are having in our society,” said Isaac Carmignani, former president of Queens’ Community District Education Council 30 (CEC). Carmignani added that parents in these councils influence policy related to homework and the demolition or construction of new educational facilities.  

From left to right, Lori Podvesker, Hakiem Yahmadi, Yolanda Torres, Teresa Arboleda, Isaac Carmignani, and Maite Junco, senior advisor for communications and external affairs for Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. (Photo by Javier Castaño via Queens Latino)

“In my three years of experience in Community Education Councils, I have learned a great deal about education policy, and I have been able to advocate for children with physical disabilities,” said Lori Podvesker, former member of this team of parents.

Hakiem Yahmadi, president of a CEC, said: “I always wanted to be a soldier to serve the community, and that’s why I joined this parents council.”

“These parents help pass resolutions about translations and other important issues affecting the education of New York City students by forming an advisory committee,” said Teresa Arboleda, chair of the Council on English Language Learners (CCELL).

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