Wednesday, January 20, 2016 || Originally Published: Forest Park Review |
1/19/16 || By Matthew Hendrickson
Despite attempts by District 209 school board members Claudia Medina and Ned Wagner, the Proviso High School Board of Education did not schedule a make-up testing date for feeder district students who missed prior opportunities to apply for a spot at Proviso Mathematics and Science Academy (PMSA).
Wagner and Medina, both of Forest Park, said they were contacted by parents of Forest Park Middle School students who claimed that poor communication from the district about the PMSA application process caused them to miss testing dates for a chance to enter PMSA.
To apply for a spot at the math and science magnet school, students needed to have completed all testing and turn in their application packages on Friday, Jan. 15 by the close to school. To apply, students needed to turn in the results of their Explore test, complete a Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test and write an essay on a scheduled testing date at PMSA, and complete their application packages, which included getting recommendations from teachers, among other requirements. (See sidebar)
Confusion over the application process caused approximately 10 students at Forest Park Middle School to miss the testing dates, Medina said. By the time the parents learned the Naglieri test and essay needed to be completed at PMSA, there were no more scheduled testing dates before the deadline.
At the D209 board meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 12, Medina and Wagner brought the issue before the board for discussion. Board President Theresa Kelly voiced support for the idea of setting a make-up test date before the Jan. 15 application deadline. Kelly said she believed any student who wanted to apply should have the opportunity to do so, even if they missed the previously scheduled testing dates.
PMSA Principal Bessie Karvelas told the board that the application process this year ran as it always had. Karvelas said D209 communicated the application process to prospective applicants at three open houses held at feeder schools and that students at Forest Park Middle School also received information and application packages in their electronic backpacks through their district. The information could also be found on the PMSA website.
Karvelas told the board that completed tests had already been sent out for scoring and she was concerned about the district’s ability to communicate the make-up test date with only three days before the deadline. Additionally, if make-up tests were conducted, they would still take at least 21 days to be scored and returned to the district.
Board member Brian Cross said he was sympathetic toward students who missed their testing opportunities, as he had also heard from parents in similar predicaments in the past. However, Cross said the district had never scheduled make-up tests in previous years. Cross also expressed concern over potential lawsuits against the district if a make-up test were scheduled at that point in the process. He said it would not be fair to students who completed the requirements on time.
Ultimately, the board did not take any action at that meeting to schedule a make-up testing date. VFP
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