CICS Parent Shares Her Appreciation for the Unique & Nurturing Environment at CICS West Belden

Written by Chicago International Charter School
30 March 2023
Posted in Parent Spotlight

“My child’s superpower is being incredibly funny, caring, and imaginative and CICS West Belden allows him to be himself.” - Sara Miranda

CICS West Belden parent Sara Miranda has been a part of the CICS community for four years. When she moved to Chicago’s Belmont-Cragin area, she was looking for a neighborhood school. It was important to her that her son attends a school that had a good reputation, a strong academic program, and small class sizes. When she did her research and found CICS West Belden, it checked all of her wishes and more! She then made the decision to enroll her son at CICS West Belden. The following story is about Sara and her son’s journey to West Belden! 

Since her son enrolled at West Belden, Sara has made it a point to not only join the school’s community but play an active role in it.  She is currently a part of the Parent Teacher League and every year makes it a point to remain engaged with her son’s teachers and staff. Sara shares that “I do my best to volunteer whether it be my time or items for various events.” When she speaks about her child’s education at West Belden, she noted, “My child’s superpower is being incredibly funny, caring, and imaginative. West Belden has nurtured his imaginative play and allowed him to come to school in elaborate costumes and get into character roles without making him feel embarrassed or ashamed.” 

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Being a CICS parent is rewarding because it affords her and her family the opportunity to play an active role in her son’s education and she enjoys the fact that she is able to collaborate with teachers and staff in providing a home-away-from-home environment for her kids. 

Sara’s experience at CICS West Belden has been nothing but positive. She also notes that the school faces common challenges since the start of the pandemic that most schools have encountered, but the school prioritizes working together as a team. She admires Principal Colleen Padgett for her leadership, innovation, and energy. The teachers and staff also have open lines of communication with the families to ensure the child's education and well-being is always top priority. 

This community laughs together, shares ideas, and supports their community, school, and families. Over the last couple of years, through the pandemic, they saw this come to be as the community struggled to navigate such uncertain times in our present history. Nevertheless, in trues West Belden fashion, they persevered with joy and partnership and wish to share this with more students and families. 

West Belden is a unique campus that also offers unique care for its scholars. When asked the question, “Why should families choose CICS?”, Sara responded: “It’s simple, really. If families are looking for a small, community school that focuses on the student, and their well-being, nurtures creativity and individuality, and supports culture, diversity, and growth- well then, West Belden is the best kept secret.”


My name is Sara Miranda and I am a full-time nurse with a Doctor of Nursing Practice.  I have been married to my high school sweetheart for 13 years and we share two wonderful boys together.  Our family is very close and our favorite thing to do is spend time together exploring museums, traveling, dining out, and spending time with extended family.  We hope to do more traveling abroad and visit some amazing sights as we resurface from the pandemic.


About Chicago International Charter School 

Chicago International Charter School is a vibrant network of diverse Chicago charter schools that enable students to thrive every day, put them on a path to success in college and life, and empower entrepreneurial educators to pursue excellence through innovation. CICS is serving more than 7,400 students at 13 campuses across Chicago. To learn more, visit

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