Tag: Proviso East

D209 Creates Parent Coordinator Positions

Tuesday, August 8, 2017 || By Thomas Vogel/Forest Park Review || @maywoodnews

The Proviso District 209 Board of Education approved the hiring of two new “parent coordinator” positions, at its June 13 meeting.

Eva Kardaras and Delinda Hyde, (pictured left to right in feature photo), each with a one-year contract for $46,000, started work July 15. The pair is tasked with running the district’s two new parent centers — information clearinghouses and community-resource hubs — meant to further the district’s goal of building relationships with outside partners and Proviso residents.

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D209 Superintendent Outlines Strategic Plan, Radical Changes for Next Year

Rodriguez_no_name-3801Tuesday, April 25, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

The 2017-18 academic year at Proviso Township High Schools District 209 will be radically different from years past, based on changes Supt. Jesse Rodriguez outlined during an April 20 meeting at Proviso Math and Science Academy, 8601 W. Roosevelt Rd. in Forest Park.

Rodriguez convened the meeting to present the foundation of a long-term strategic plan at the district that his administrative team is in the process of creating and that the board will be expected to approve in the coming months. Some of the measures that will anchor that plan, however, are either already in place or will be in place by the beginning of the next school year.

Those measures and the general direction of the strategic plan that is in formation converge around the issue of equity, Rodriguez said, adding that the issue was a reoccurring theme during the community meetings he convened across the district shortly after he was hired last year.

“There was a lot of feedback, some of it negative, relating to the perception of PMSA,” Rodriguez said, adding that many parents were concerned that PMSA was taking resources away from Proviso East and West.

Rodriguez said community consensus around equity across the three schools partly informed his decision to make some significant budget reallocations. He said his administration saw $1.4 million in staffing adjustments, a $300,000 reduction in administrative costs, and repurposed funding of $2.5 million.

At PMSA, administrators will enroll a freshman class that will be at least 30 percent larger than this academic year, he noted, and much larger than those of years past. And yet, expenses at PMSA will remain at the level they’re at this academic year.

The district is holding the line at PMSA so more money can be spent at Proviso East and West, the two schools that house the majority of the nearly 4,000 district students who failed at least one class during a single semester last year.

Those students will be able to receive more opportunities to recover credits during the school day through more enhanced alternative education options, among other initiatives.

Rodriguez said the budget reallocations also allowed the district to address a common complaint among community members that the district’s facilities have historically been uninviting to visitors and that the district’s attempts at community outreach were wanting.

Next year, parents and guardians who are interested in engaging with their students’ education will be greeted by new parent coordinators eager to take them to newly established parent centers, where they’ll socialize, volunteer and even observe cooking classes.

The district has also created liaisons who will assist with student attendance, residency checks and “all of the attendance work we need to do,” Rodriguez said.

“We have to invest in our community,” he said. “Currently, we don’t do a lot of that. So we’re utilizing some savings to make sure we empower families, communities and students.”

Rodriguez said progress at East and West will be guided by “transformation plans.” At East, where a plan is already in place, that transformation could take up to a decade to “develop, initiate, implement and institutionalize.”

The plan at East includes a transition away from a traditional approach to education, replete with standardized testing and curriculum, toward one that is more personalized and tailored to each student’s needs. East is the first school in the state that the Illinois State Board of Education selected to participate in a new competency-based learning pilot program.

And at all three schools, the district has beefed up its technical education offerings by implementing career academies that will allow students to receive instruction in a range of fields, such as cosmetology and culinary arts.

Rodriguez has also revamped the administration’s organizational structure. The superintendent said when he entered office last year, there were “three offices in three schools,” instead of an efficient, clearly defined central office structure.

“That environment was one where a clear structure did not exist and we had independent practitioners in independent kingdoms making decisions that were not aligned to the board goals or to the direction of the district,” he said. “We were functioning and making transactions, but transactional leadership is not what we need. We need transformational leadership.”

The strategy is part of a three-year plan for introducing new initiatives that will further the three board goals that Rodriguez laid out and which he expects the board to adopt soon. Goal One, he said, is to enhance academic achievement. Goal Two is to ensure effective and efficient operations. Goal Three is to empower students, families and communities.

“I’m proposing we have as our number one goal to enhance academic achievement,” Rodriguez said to an audience of around 50 community members. “That is very important. This is not about operations and dollars and contracts and all the other small work we do in a district. It’s all about promoting academic achievement for all students.”

The administration’s first-year strategy, he said, is to identify “high-impact, low-cost” programs that will be funded largely through budget cuts and reallocations.

“In year two, I will be coming [to the board] with a proposal of $1 million to $3 million,” Rodriguez said, adding that the price tag of his proposal in the third year could be “a little bit more.”

Rodriguez said that, according to a 5-year financial projection that will guide his strategic plan, the district’s spending levels will not rise over the next four years.

“The idea is to maintain the spending levels we are going to have next year over the next four years,” he said. “We will be financially stable.”

Rodriguez said the district’s target fund balance over the next four years is at least $40 million. The district’s annual operating revenue is around $100 million, he said.

“The budgets are going to be balanced, so we won’t have to dip into the fund balance,” he said. “There will be no deficit spending for the next four years.”

Rodriguez explained that in order to create additional initiatives that jibe with the board goals and to maintain rigorous programming like AP and IB instruction while holding the line on spending, his team — which included principals and central office administrators — conducted a cost-benefit analysis along with over 200 hours of brainstorming about programming options.

Administrators also received input gleaned from residents during those community meetings and from students who Rodriguez invited into his office over a period of time. The strategic planning process, he said, has taken nine months and counting. In the coming weeks, the superintendent said he’ll convene more meetings with students and other stakeholders to flesh out the plan.

“In my research, I didn’t find anything similar to a strategy plan,” Rodriguez said. “I had conversations with people who graduated in the [1960s and 1970s], and they said this is the first time they’ve seen a strategic plan or heard Proviso talking about a plan with strategic objectives.” VFP

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Now That Rio’s Here, Take Time to Remember Proviso’s Own Olympian — Greg Foster

Greg Foster.jpg

Proviso East alum Greg Foster competing for Team U.S.A. at the 3rd World Athletics Championships Tokyo, Japan, August 1991. | Bob Thomas/Getty Images | Below photo: George Herringshaw via sporting-heroes.net

Foster .jpgTuesday, August 9, 2016 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews || @village_free  

Greg Foster, 58, once told a Chicago Tribune reporter, “I’m the most consistent athlete that ever lived.” A testament to the Proviso East alum’s greatness may be how the Tribune reporter responded in a 1993 article:

“There is more matter-of-factness than vanity in that declaration. Foster is justifiably proud of what he has accomplished, especially in having been ranked among the world’s top 10 hurdlers in 15 of the last 16 years. During that time, he has won nine titles in the Millrose Games, the most prestigious indoor track meet in the United States.”

And five of those years, between 1982 and 1991, Foster was ranked number one in the world. Foster, who won a silver medal in the 110-meter hurdles at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, is also the only person to win three consecutive 110-meter hurdling championships at the IAAF World Championships in Athletic.

In 1998, Foster, a 1981 graduate of UCLA, was inducted into the USA Track and Field Hall of Fame. Read part of his induction bio below:

“The only major prize that eluded him was an Olympic gold medal. He came close in 1984, finishing second at the Los Angeles Games to Roger Kingdom of the U.S. In 1988, Foster broke his forearm prior to the Trials, competed nonetheless, but failed to gain a spot on the team. Four years later, at the 1992 Trials, he finished a non-qualifying fourth. Foster set world indoor hurdles records in 1986 and 1987. He was a member of 12 international teams, was the 1991 world indoor champion and the 1981 World Cup winner.”

You can read the entire Feb. 26, 1993 Tribune article here. VFP

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85-Year-Old Maywood Native, Korean War Vet Finally Gets His Diploma | Former Pirate’s Film To Make TV Debut

Gus NIU Grad

Robert “Gus” Trantham, 85, finally walked across the stage to receive his diploma, 63 years after completing his bachelor’s degree. Below: Trantham’s year book photo. | Courtesy Northern Illinois University  

Gus Northern year book photoFriday, May 20, 2016 || By Michael Romain 

In 1952, a young Robert “Gus” Trantham was poised to graduate from Northern Illinois University with a bachelor’s in education when he was abruptly called to serve on the USS Toucan during the Korean War.

“I know his parents came out here and saw the graduation, but he wasn’t in it,” said his wife Fran. “They knew nobody. That was a very tearful time.”

At the ceremony on May 30, 1953, Trantham’s parents picked up his diploma in their son’s stead — a bittersweet culmination of a lifelong ambition.

“I was a poor boy from Maywood, Illinois and I always wanted to go away to college,” said Trantham in a video published by Northern Illinois.

“I wanted to do it,” Trantham told the Daily Chronicle, referencing a bookend to that ambition — walking across that graduation stage. “I never really had a graduation.”

The veteran finally took the walk earlier this month in front of 25 family members, who traveled to DeKalb from Charleston, South Carolina, according to Chronicle. One daughter told the paper that she’d bene “saving money for a year to pay for airline tickets.”

“To have somebody come back and say, ‘I was not able to be here on an important day in my life …,’ is a tremendous compliment to Northern Illinois University,’ a university official told the paper.

But Gus, who would go on to become an entrepreneur, wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I’m always a Huskie,” he said in the school’s video production. “Huskie born, Huskie bred!”

Watch the video in which Trantham talks about finally receiving his diploma here.

‘College Week,’ documentary film directed by Proviso East alum Derek Grace, to premiere on World Channel  

Grace filmmaker

Filmmaker Derek Grace, a Proviso East alum and Maywood native, discusses his documentary film “College Week,” during a screening last August. | Igor Studenkov/Wednesday Journal

Accomplished filmmaker and Proviso East High School alum Derek Grace’s documentary “College Week,” which captures a West Side school’s commitments to provide learning opportunities for its students, will make its debut premier on World Channel on Tuesday, June 7, at 8 p.m.

The film’s television debut is part of the fourth season of a new documentary series called America Reframed, hosted by Natasha Del Toro.

“For elite charter and public school in affluent Chicagoland communities, College Week is perceived as a customary practice, but in poor communities like Austin, schools more often serve as incubators for the ‘school-to-prison pipeline,’” according to a statement by World Channel and American Documentary, Inc., which co-produced the America Reframed documentary series.

“This film honors the values that my late father passed onto to me,” said Grace, a native of Maywood. “He firmly believed that education is the way out of poverty. In the lives of these children, the steadfast support and confidence from just one teacher may be the sustenance needed to carry them through in academia and life.”

For local listings, click here. VFP

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Donnie Boyce To Receive Back Pay, Says D209 Board President; East Locker Room Rehab Tops $300K


Wednesday, February 17, 2016 || Originally Published: Forest Park Review || || 2/16/16 || By Matthew Hendricksen 

Donnie Boyce, the former Proviso East High School boys basketball coach and member of the school’s security staff, will get his jobs back after being terminated by the District 209 Board of Education a year ago. 

According to school board President Theresa Kelly, Boyce will also receive wages for the time he was unemployed by the district. Boyce was fired in February 2015 after video footage surfaced that allegedly showed him choking a female student during a December 2014 incident at the school. 

The incident was investigated by the Cook County Sheriff’s Office and the Department of Child and Family Services. No charges were ever filed against Boyce.

Proviso East locker room rehab tops $300K

At the Proviso Township High School District 209 board meeting on Feb. 9, school board President Theresa Kelly said the board approved for a plan to replace lockers in several locker rooms at Proviso East over the summer.

The board has pushed the district’s administration to address the poor condition of the locker rooms at several recent meetings, calling the conditions unsafe for students.

According to board documents, the school board and the state-appointed financial oversight panel disagreed about taking action on the locker rooms at a joint session in October.

The school board asked for upgrades to the locker rooms, but the financial oversight panel did not want to make changes to the building until a master facilities plan for the school was complete, which could take several years.

Over holiday break, the district’s staff and architect reviewed the locker rooms and determined a new plan to upgrade the locker rooms with new lockers and benches, but with fewer lockers than before. The financial oversight panel agreed to the scaled-back plan, according to a memo to the board.

The district’s architect was working on drawings to bid out the project at the time of the meeting, according to the memo.

Documents for the project provided to the district on Jan. 18 by Legat Architects listed the estimated cost of the rehab plan for Fieldhouse C, Building F and Building B at $317,652.66. VFP

From Maywood To The Ivy League: The Stratospheric Ambitions of Marquan Jones

Marquan Jones II

Marquan Jones IWednesday, December 30, 2015 || By Nicholas Samuel || Updated: 6:08 PM

Marquan Jones, a senior at Proviso Mathematics and Science Academy, cried as he was recognized in front of thousands at a local basketball game Monday night for being accepted into Cornell University, an American private Ivy League school in Ithaca, New York.

The audience cheered and clapped as an announcer listed Jones’s credentials, which include his status as a three-sport athlete and as an inductee into the National Honor Society.

“When they started reading off the things I did, it was like waterworks. My mom was consoling me,” Jones said. “I always told my mom how I would do all of these amazing things. To actually accomplish those are amazing.”

The crowd gave Jones, 18, a standing ovation as he stood in the center of the basketball court at the 2015 Proviso West Holiday Tournament at Proviso West High School in Hillside. He was joined at center court by his mother Chanicka Jones, his father Eric Jones, his brother Jalen Jones, 12, and his sister Ericka Jones, 7.

“I had my whole family there with me, was able to show my family to the world and how much of a support system I have,” said Jones, who lives in Maywood. “I got my name out there and earned the support of thousands of alumni. That’s greater value than any plaque or monetary reward.”

Chanicka said she’s very proud of her son and that this is the first of his many accomplishments.

“When he was in second grade, he always said he wanted to go to an Ivy League school. He even said he wanted to be president,” Chanicka said. “It’s really an indescribable feeling. I always knew he had it in him.”

Dr. Patrick Hardy, principal of Proviso East High School in Maywood and Theresa Kelly, board president for Proviso Township High Schools District 209 also joined Jones at center court for his moment of recognition.

Jones, who holds a 4.714 GPA at PMSA, plans to attend Cornell University next Fall and major in Food Science. He wants to mentor kids on financial literacy and how to keep a healthy diet.

The 18-year-old is a member of the debate and theater clubs at PMSA, but plays basketball, football and track at Proviso East since those sports aren’t offered at PMSA. He’s captain of the varsity track team and co-captain of the varsity football team.

Scottie Ware, who coached Jones in track, football and basketball for all four years of high school, said Jones has as much tenacity for athletics as he has for the books.

He said the 18-year-old has a great deal of drive and determination, and is a great example for kids who will come behind him.

“His nickname is ‘5.0,’ because that’s normally what his GPA was,” Ware said. “I want the entire Proviso Township to realize that kids can make it out and go to Ivy League schools.”

Ware, who has coached sports at Proviso East for 12 years, said the high school has had students in the past who have applied to Ivy League schools, but that Jones is the first to be accepted to one.

“Marquan was very coachable and very respectful. He wasn’t the most athletic, but hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard; he’s an example of that,” Ware said. “I look forward to the day when we put his picture up on the wall of fame at the school. Marquan will be the next one to hit that wall.”

Jones helped lead East’s track team to fourth place at the West Suburban Gold Conference meet last year. He said he prides himself in being a renaissance man.

“I know a lot of kids that have higher GPA’s than me, but it’s like they’re robots that just sit in the room all day and do nothing but their homework,” Jones said. “When you spend all of your time on one thing, you’re going to be good only at that one thing. The real challenge is being good at multiple things.”

Jones said his parents instilled in him that they would support him in anything he does.

“If I didn’t like sports, they would support that,” Jones said. “They want to teach me how to think, not what to think. From that I found my own passion and will to be successful. One of my favorite quotes is, ‘Don’t tell me the sky’s the limit when there are footprints on the moon.’ Make sure you question everything; just because something is like this in the world doesn’t mean it has to be. You can change it.” VFP

A previous version of this article incorrectly noted that Jones led his track team to second place at the West Suburban Gold Conference meet, instead of fourth. This post has since been updated. We regret the error. 

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Life After Court: Post-Career, Dee Brown And Danka Beasley Are Repping Maywood Hoops In Their Own Ways



Tuesday, November 10, 2015 || By Michael Romain 

These days, Proviso East basketball legend Dee Brown, (pictured above), “wears his hair short rather than in cornrows,” according to a recent Chicago Tribune article that was published in the Idaho Statesman.

The 31-year-old basketball star, who led the Fighting Illini to the NCAA championship game in 2005, harbors the mature ambitions of coaching or becoming an athletic director someday.

At the time the Tribune article came out, Brown was special assistant to University of Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas, who was fired Monday. After playing for three NBA teams and 10 teams overseas, the retired basketball player is ready to parlay his opportunity with Thomas into something more substantial.

And his infectious optimism may make it happen.

When Tribune reporter Shannon Ryan noted the university’s recent troubles — it “has gone through multiple scandals in the athletic department this year: a racial discrimination lawsuit filed by former women’s basketball players; the firing of football coach Tim Beckman amid an external investigation into mistreatment of players; and a lawsuit filed by a women’s soccer player who alleges she was mistreated for concussions” — Brown focused on the positive.

“Everyone knows I’m a positive guy,” he told Ryan. “Out of the one negative you give me about Illinois, I could give you 10 positives. I could spit them out quick.”

And he did, Shannon writes, noting that Brown “easily launches into descriptions of the renovated State Farm Center, the athletic facilities and the school’s academic reputation.”

It’s been ten years since Brown took the Illini to the pinnacle of college basketball, but the point guard is still the program’s face.

“”I’m on a team right now,” Brown told Ryan. “We’re trying to make this university thrive. We’ve got one common goal: That’s to make this university win.”

Hoop dreams in a homegrown league

Danka Beasley

Participants in Danka’s Men Basketball League participate in a second round playoff game. Below, Quinton Beasley during a pickup game. | Photos: Facebook

BeasleyWhile Brown navigates his promising post-playing days in Champaign, Maywood native Quinton “Danka” Beasley is on a mission to transform the local hoops scene here in Proviso Township.

Beasley, a product of Irving Middle School (formerly Irving Elementary) and Proviso East High School, has started a full-blown basketball league for kids and adults — ages four to 40 years old.

After playing in middle school and high school, Beasley played college ball before his oversees career in Oviedo, Spain was cut short due to knee injuries.

Now, his ambitions have shifted.

“I wanted to give the kids and adults in my community something to look forward to and participate in,” Beasley said.

He created the league with longtime recreational advocate Patrick Winters and represents Maywood on a team comprising former Proviso East Pirates Everett Stubblefield, Nate Fuqua and Raymont Sharp.

“Some of the kids I know have a slight chance of making a team, so Patrick and I started this league just for them, so they can develop the skills and confidence to go the next level,” Beasley said.

“We saw the success we had with the kids and figured we should stretch it out a little more,” said Winters, who along with Beasley and several others facilitated a successful youth basketball tournament in August.

Along with the developmental league for children, Beasley and Winters started an adult league, called Danka Men’s Basketball League, that is year-round and divided into four 15-game seasons. There are about 16 teams and more than 160 players in the league. Each team pays a $250 registration fee.

Beasley said the leagues play in three locations, which vary; but all of the games are secured by Maywood police officers Aaron Peppers and Jevon Robinson. He said the kids play a part in the adult league by running concessions and taking score —opportunities that allow the kids to earn money.

Winters said he sees the league as a cycle that’s coming back around to its point of origin. He remembers when he was a kid playing basketball on Maywood’s concrete courts and on Proviso East’s hardwood.

When he got older, he began coaching. Beasley was around six or seven years old when Winters took him under his wings. Now, Beasley’s become a mentor to budding ball players in his own right.

Winters said he feels some momentum gathering within Maywood’s local hoops scene that could flourish into a full-fledged renaissance — a reversion back to the village’s golden days, when, as Winters recalls, young kids would miss curfew to get a glimpse of, and maybe even an opportunity to play against, legends like Isiah Thomas and Doc Rivers at 10th Park.

Although he cited the cooperation of various village departments and government agencies as one reason for the revitalization, he gave a lot of credit to Maywood’s first-year village manager Willie Norfleet, Jr., who he said “is giving us all the assistance we ask for” and to the men “who are stepping up and showing their faces — whether its basketball or wrestling or football or whatever.”

“Now, with the adult league, the whole family is getting in on this and everybody is able to see each other play,” Winter said. “This is not just changing lives on the court, but this is changing lives at home as well.”

For more information on Danka’s Men Basketball League, call (708) 506-2089. VFP

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