Cleavland School CHICAGO – To meet students, educators and parents where they are, State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago) visited 17 local schools to discuss the return to in-person learning and other topics affecting schools.

“Had it not been for the pandemic, I would have visited all 36 schools in the 20th district. Being able to visit schools these last few months and hear directly from students, teachers and administrators about the successes, shortcomings, and needs of their schools informs my legislative agenda,” Pacione-Zayas, a longtime champion of education policy, said. “After a year in the Senate, the importance of listening and engaging with the people who will have to live with our votes and policy decisions could not be more critical.”

Schools Pacione-Zayas visited include Barry Elementary, Brentano Elementary, Cleveland Elementary, Darwin Elementary, Goethe Elementary, Haugan Elementary, Logandale Elementary, North River Elementary, Scammon Elementary, Volta Elementary,  ASPIRA middle and high schools, Foreman High School, Roosevelt High School, Schurz High School. She observed dual language preschool circle time, peer editing of middle school essays, Spanish language grammar lessons, and civics in action with student government and petitions for better bathrooms. 

Visiting schools allowed her to see first-hand the resource gaps and necessary facilities renovations that district schools need to fully meet the potential of children and young people. A common theme across schools was the intense support needed for the mental wellness and social emotional development of students after the instability and trauma over the past 21 months. School 2

"Listening to individuals entrusted with our children's education and seeing classrooms manage under challenging conditions is necessary to advance policies centered in the lived experiences of students and educators as legislators return to Springfield for the spring session," Pacione-Zayas said. “This summer and fall were busy, from school visits to organizing vaccination clinics and meeting with community groups and stakeholders to discuss how we can collaborate to develop solutions through legislation. I am committed to advancing this work together to improve conditions in the 20th district and throughout the state.” 

Pacione-Zayas celebrates her first full year in the Senate on Dec. 21. Since taking her place representing the 20th District, she has made strides by championing a historic win for Local School Councils, advocating for more resources for early childhood educators including scholarship opportunities, and ensuring schools follow accessibility guidelines for online educational materials.

Learn more about what Pacione-Zayas has been doing and get updated on her future work in the General Assembly on her website

Category: Press Releases

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