I want to thank Wednesday Journal for endorsing me and thanks to all of my supporters in this election. The love and support that was shown to me, a newcomer, was immeasurable.

Congratulations to the new board. This was an amazing journey. I love Oak Park and will continue my work for the greater good in it. This experience was bittersweet. It made me think, what if students received the magnitude of support from their school and community that I received in this campaign. What would that look like? This is what sets me apart from the norm; this is what drives me to continue my work in the community.

As the youngest candidate for D200, I offered a fresh perspective and innovative ideas to the status quo. Advocating for both school districts has afforded me a wealth of opportunities, connections, information and solutions. I will continue my work behind the scenes and in the forefront of the revitalization movement. I am ever present and will continue to keep the lines of communication open, offering a bridge between students, teachers, parents and the district.

I’ve spent many hours working with stakeholders to bring a change that has been due for over 30 years. I hope that the new board accepts this strategic plan. We have an achievement gap that consists of mostly African-American students, many of whom have been in this school system since kindergarten. It is our responsibility as parents and community volunteers to work with the school to set clearly defined goals to see all of OPRF High School students off to college or a career path. It is also the school’s responsibility to work with us and provide the extra help needed for students.

I envisioned the restoration of the district’s reputation of equitable education, positive class elements, high student morale, functional student-teacher relationships and racial sensitivity. I hope that the love and dedication I have for our students was echoed throughout the community in my campaign and encourages the village to continue to put our children on the right path. They are our future teachers, CEOs, politicians, doctors, and parents.

The journey to academic excellence is simple. Education is a science, not a practice. We have the tools needed to ensure the success of our students, we have to use them to be held accountable for our part in this process. It is paramount that every student under our charge be as prepared as they can be for the world as it is today.

Melanie McQueen

Parent, youth director, community volunteer, D200 school board candidate

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