My name is Cascia Talbert and I am running for Board of Education for the Crystal Lake Elementary School District 47.
I was born and raised just outside of Madison, WI. I attended the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater where I studied music, history, and law. I graduated with a BA in History and a legal studies minor with paralegal certification for the State of Wisconsin in 2001. My husband, Chris and I were married in 2003. Our most recent move was from Spokane, WA to Crystal Lake, IL in 2014.
We have five children, all with special needs. When my husband’s job relocated to the Chicago area, we chose to move to Crystal Lake because of the great schools. Our children have IEPs, so it is vital that they get the best education possible.
Four of our children attended Indian Prairie Elementary School. The teachers and staff there went out of their way to make sure our special kids were successful. If I noticed that there was something wrong with their education, I spoke up and requested an IEP meeting. Every time the school cooperated and listened to my ideas. Changes were implemented and my kids thrived. I have had numerous successes advocating for my unique children.
When COVID-19 hit in the spring of 2020, the shutdown of the schools had a negative impact on my children. It broke my heart when I saw them suffering academically, socially, and emotionally. My active 11-year-old son experienced depression for the first time when his favorite sport was cancelled. My high-school daughter has a hair pulling disorder and the stress was too much for her to handle. She pulled her hair out so much that I had to shave her head. We were unable to cover all the bald spots. My eighth grader has high functioning autism and an above average IQ. He is used to getting straight A’s, but remote learning confused him. His grades took a nosedive. My youngest has high functioning autism and a behavioral disorder. He is unable to learn remotely. The school has tried everything possible to get him to stay focused and complete the work.
I knew I was not the only parent in D47 having these challenges. I decided I needed to do something about it. One of my good friends and I put together a Facebook group for parents from D47 and D155 who saw their kids suffering with remote learning. Within two weeks our group grew to nearly 1,000 members. We organized gatherings at school board meetings and parents spoke up. But nothing changed. Many of the parents I was in contact with thought that nobody on the board was listening to us.
After reading all the disappointing and frustrating comments and posts from parents on my Facebook group I knew I had to do something more to help. Therefore, I am running for Board of Education for D47. I want to be a voice for the parents and families in our district.
I am not affiliated with unions or any other interest group in Crystal Lake. I am just a concerned parent of five children with special needs. I am not a teacher nor am I married to a teacher. Our family is not wealthy, and I am not running for office to get wealthy. My husband works in sales and I am a stay-at-home mom with an Avon business on the side. I care about our community, the families and the children that attend our schools. I will listen to all those families looking for direction, be the voice for all those in need of one and be a community leader who makes a difference.