Teachers, administrators, counselors, coaches…we all come to work each day with the same goal in mind. To do whatever we can to help the students we care about succeed. Every decision we make is with that objective in mind. Yet if it’s only the adults making those decisions, something important is missing.

We need to hear from our students. How can we decide what’s best for them without knowing what they think? Without knowing what things are like in their schools, and what needs to be done to improve their experience?

Enter the CPS Student Advisory Council – a group of high school students from around the District who provide CPS leadership with that consistent student voice. Who make sure that the needs and opinions of students – the people we are all here to serve – are at the center of our plans.

This year’s Student Advisory Council was particularly special, as they were faced with some unique challenges. Major leadership changes occurred at CPS halfway through their term, and I’m proud to say that they took them in stride. They were eager to understand my vision for CPS, as well as that of CEO Claypool, and never lost sight of their responsibility as the voice of all CPS students.

As they so eloquently put it in the handbook they created this year:

“Through the transitions and challenges we faced, one thing we learned was that our mission as the SAC did not change. Though District leadership and administration may change, the students of CPS will always remain and it is our job as the SAC to voice their concerns and improve their experience.”

SACThe SAC Handbook was the culminating project of this year’s council, the idea being to outline their vision and provide guidelines for future SACs. They wanted to give future councils a running start so that they could spend less time on logistics and more time championing student voice, engaging with other student leaders, and strengthening the bond between CPS students and the leaders who shape their futures.

I want to thank Mikva Challenge, which does an incredible job of leading and empowering our city’s youth, for their partnership in molding our Student Advisory Council. Their support is particularly poignant this year, with the recent passing of founder Abner J. Mikva – a legal scholar and devoted public servant who inspired countless urban youth to take an interest in government.

Finally, I thank the Council members themselves, who gave of their time and talents so that the students who come after them could experience a better CPS.  

I wish these students well as they move on to college. Based on the commitment and leadership skills they displayed at CPS, I have no doubt that each of these young adults is destined for greatness.

Dr. Janice K. Jackson

Chief Education Officer

The 2015-2016 Student Advisory Council

Ilena Banks – Simpson Academy

Rayshaune Burns – Foreman High School

Camila Giraldo – Walter Payton College Prep

Ariel Gomez – Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences

Demareo Jones – Richards Academy

Christopher Kim – Northside College Prep

Charles Kotrba – Whitney Young Magnet High School

Elizabeth Martinez – Prosser Career Academy

Tommie McDade – Perspectives Charter School

Xiao Lin Mei – Jones College Prep

Rashaye Moss – Chicago Vocational Career Academy

Rachel Nyirenda – Von Steuben High School

Paulette Para – Amundsen High School

Madeline Poole – Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences

Cynthia Rodriguez – Jones College Prep

Adelina Socite – Rickover Naval Academy

Chad Tucker – Lindblom Math and Science Academy