Tag: Proviso Mathematics and Science Academy

Quick Scoop: Upcoming Movie ‘Canal Street’ Partly Filmed at Proviso Schools

Wednesday, September 13, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews  

Feature image: The movie poster for “Canal Street.” 

The independent film “Canal Street” may not be opening in theaters until next year, but there’s something about it that makes it immediately relevant. This summer, the film’s crew were shooting scenes at Proviso West and Proviso Math and Science Academy, according to District 209 officials.

Continue reading “Quick Scoop: Upcoming Movie ‘Canal Street’ Partly Filmed at Proviso Schools”

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PMSA teacher apologizes for anti-DACA Facebook post

Tuesday, September 12, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews 

A Proviso Math and Science Academy teacher has apologized for a Facebook post in which he said undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children should “go back.” The post ignited a furious response from current and former students at the Forest Park school.

Continue reading “PMSA teacher apologizes for anti-DACA Facebook post”

District 209 Approves Facilities Master Plan

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An aerial view of the Proviso East High School campus in Maywood. | Google Earth

Tuesday, June 27, 2017 || By Thomas Vogel/Forest Park Review || @maywoodnews

The Proviso District 209 Board of Education unanimously approved a contract with Chicago-based architecture firm Perkins and Will to draft a Facilities Master Plan and a Health Life Safety Survey at its June 13 meeting.

Work is set to begin this summer while school is not in session. The contract approval is the latest step in moving the district toward a more holistic vision for its campus facilities. For the last several years, D209 has been using a capital and construction list. A Facilities Master Plan, however, fuses curriculum needs, technological upgrades, current facility conditions, and enrollment projections into one document that is used for long-term planning.

“Our district spent many years not addressing the capital needs of our buildings. We are starting the process,” D209 Supt. Jesse Rodriguez told the Review in March after the board selected Perkins and Will. “There’s a lot to be done.”

The Health and Life Safety Plan will cost $179,900 and the Facilities Master Plan will be $139,900, according to district spokesperson Cynthia Moreno.

Drafting a facilities plan is also a necessary step toward dissolving the state-mandated Financial Oversight Panel. Such panels, according to Illinois law, are a way for the state to offer emergency financial management assistance to local school districts. D209 has had a FOP since 2008, although the panel was reorganized in 2012, expanding its powers and adding more members.

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An aerial view of the Proviso West High School campus in Hillside. | Google Earth

“That’s the number one thing that has to happen,” Craig Shilling, the panel’s chairman, told the Review in March. “It is primarily getting the facilities piece into something that is sustainable.”

The project has several phases, beginning with a demographic survey to examine birth rates, enrollment trends and population change. Then Perkins and Will plans to audit the district’s buildings to ensure mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection components for compliance and identify any necessary upgrades.

The next step includes an “educational assessment” and “capacity analysis.” The Perkins and Will team will observe Proviso students during school hours in the fall to determine how the existing facilities at PMSA, Proviso East and Proviso West meet current educational needs. This includes examining classroom sizes, security features and student traffic flow during class breaks.

An oversight committee will be formed as well and will include district administrators, parents, faculty, staff, community members, and board of education members. The committee, which will meet bi-weekly throughout the process, will be a “sounding board as issues arise, meeting agendas are developed, [and] planning ideas/solution are generated,” according to the proposal submitted by Perkins and Will.

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An aerial view of the PMSA campus in Forest Park. | Google Earth

There will be at least four bilingual community engagement meetings, too.

“The general intent of these community engagement sessions is to review the established vision driving the facilities master plan, highlight findings and issues at each campus, and thoughtfully articulate a range of possible solutions,” the proposal says.

Once final options are identified, with the help of the oversight committee, the school board will assess and, if necessary, get clarifications and feedback, before voting to approve the plan.

If all goes well, the process will be completed by spring 2018. VFP

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Community Corner: PMSA Students Show Off Literary Chops | 10 Leaders Receive ‘Harambee Awards’

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Students perform, and a large crowd looks on, during a literary festival held at PMSA on April 13. The festival featured spoke word performance and film screenings, among other student-led activities. | Courtesy Proviso Math and Science Academy 

Lit Fest (43) (1)Tuesday, May 2, 2017 || By Community Editor || @maywoodnews

Last month, students at Proviso Mathematics and Science Academy in Forest Park participated in a student-driven literary festival, where students read or performed their own spoke word, traditional poetry, soliloquies from Shakespeare’s Hamlet and excerpts of their own short stories.

The April 13 festival, which attracted nearly 200 attendees, also featured screenings of student-created literary films.

“It was a successful event and a supportive environment for the students sharing their ideas, projects, and writing,” said PMSA English teacher Audrey Kane. “We hope to continue the tradition next year and would like to encourage community members to attend, as well.”

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‘Top Ladies’ give out annual Harambee Awards 

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During an April 29 ceremony at the Best Western Hotel in Hillside, the Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc. Ebony Chapter hosted its annual Harambee Awards and Fashion Show.

“This year we are honoring 10 individuals for their work with youth, seniors as well as our communities,” said Top Lady member Mattie Sue Scott Robinson.

Among the recipients were (pictured from left to right): Randall McFarland, Isiah Brandon, Barbara Cole and Vernell Brown.

All 10 recipients of this year’s Harambee Awards include:

Vernell Brown

Sen. Kimberly Lightford

Barbara Cole

Isiah Brandon

Rajeska Jackson

Randall McFarland

Maggie Dodd

Kevin McClinton

John Robinson

Tyrone Wilson

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MFA AD_April 2017

 

PMSA Jumps Ahead in Recent U.S. News & World Report Rankings


Wednesday, April 26, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

Proviso Mathematics and Science Academy was recently ranked 32 among 658 Illinois high schools included in the most recent school rankings released by U.S. News & World Report.

The list, U.S. News Best High Schools Rankings, considers data on 28,496 public high schools in the country. PMSA was ranked 1,044 among those high schools nationwide, good for a Silver medal. Last year, PMSA received a Bronze medal.

Last August, PMSA garnered the top spot in Chicago Magazine’s ranking of the top 20 high schools in suburban Cook County.

“We are elated with the 2017 ranking,” stated PMSA Principal Dr. Bessie Karvelas in a recent statement. “These wonderful results would not have been possible without our teachers and students who continue to be proud of their school and their accomplishments.”

Karvelas thanked the school’s “committed faculty, leadership team and devoted parents” for the ranking, adding that her administration seeks a gold medal in the future.

“We are proud of our school community’s commitment to academic excellence as it continues to demonstrate high levels of educational attainment,” said D209 Supt. Jesse J. Rodriguez. “The designation shows, once again, the potential of PTHS D.209. We are Proviso Proud.” VFP

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D209 board votes to streamline architect hiring process

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Tuesday, December 6, 2016 || Originally Published: Forest Park Review || By Jackie Glosniak || @maywoodnews

In yet another clash — both personal and policy related — the Proviso Township High Schools Board of Education ended last week’s special meeting divided on how to handle selecting a new architecture firm. In the end, the board majority chose to make the selection with limited input from the public and the administration.

On Nov. 29, the board met at Proviso Math and Science Academy to hear from Superintendent Jesse Rodriguez regarding where the district currently stands in the selection process and to vote on moving forward.

Rodriguez explained that the process started last year, and he presented the board with completed requests for qualifications and matrixes utilized per the request of some school board members who formed an advisory committee with administrators, Financial

Oversight Panel members, and residents to work together on process input.

With requests for qualifications completed by 11 firms using guidelines provided by the board, Rodriguez presented information to allow the board to make a decision.

“The intent for tonight is to review the requests for qualifications and the matrix, which is in line with the request for qualifications,” Rodriguez said.

But board member Claudia Medina expressed concern that building managers and other administrators were not available at the meeting for questions on the matrix, which was the exact reason she and fellow board members Ned Wagner and Theresa Kelly wanted to further review the selection process.

Rodriguez explained that with the completed questionnaires, there were two options the board could take to move along with hiring.

The first option, which Rodriguez called “Scenario A,” would include three board meetings (two additional plus that evening’s meeting) to further discuss matters. Rodriguez said board members would review the 11 firms, and the administration would crunch the numbers, ranking the firms, and selecting the top six firms for the interview. Following interviews, the board would then select their top three picks and then rank from there to reach a conclusion.

 “Scenario B” would require four meetings total and would involve a more extensive process, with board members and administrators coming together for one day to determine the rankings, followed by three meetings for interviews and discussion, leading to a selection of finalists.

“[The process] does require a lot of work and time of you, but I think for the sake of keeping this going, I can explain the documents we have here so that everyone is aware,” Rodriguez said. “Then, as a board, you can engage in discussion about how you will move forward.”

Having interested firms fill out extensive questionnaires was done by the request of board members and the advisory committee using categories Rodriguez said were completely aligned with the requests for qualifications.

“Moving forward, my recommendation to you is to use this rating scale,” he said.

Medina, however, said neither scenario would be inclusive of the work and input that people outside of the board and administration provided in earlier discussions regarding the hiring.

“This work has already been completed extensively and exhaustively,” she said, “and I think that to not allow the courtesy to the rest of the people who participated, gave their time, volunteered their time, who have studied this extensively — to not participate in this is offensive and gives us a complete lack of knowledge and moving forward blindly.”

Medina said it seemed frivolous to disregard the opinions of people other than board members when making a decision that will affect the entire district.

“There’s some of us that have already read all of these proposals,” she said. “We’ve had this material since March of last year. I think we’ve been given ample time to go through this.”

Board President Teresa McKelvy disagreed with Medina, saying the process would start to become too convoluted if people not formally appointed to serve the district were involved.

“To be honest with you, when you start incorporating a lot of people, it starts to become confusing,” McKelvy said. “This is information that we can read [and] dissect ourselves.”

When Medina said she disagreed, McKelvy replied, “That’s fine. I gave you your time to talk, please give me my time to talk. For the most part, being aligned with things in the past, we didn’t bring in administrators.”

McKelvy said she preferred Scenario A to move the process forward.

“This gives us three opportunities to go through the information and decide what we want to do. With Scenario B, this brings in additional meetings once we start incorporating other people. I do believe this is something we can handle. I think we can do this without administrators and FOP input.”

Board member Theresa Kelly sided with Medina, saying she didn’t want to neglect the opinions of other administrators and the public.

“It’s very hard for board members to come to meetings and schedule anything,” Kelly said. “Our time should be on children — that’s what we’re here for; to make sure children are learning and not architects.”

Board secretary Brian Cross struck back, saying that Kelly had spent unnecessary time at previous board meetings discussing the issue.

“You’ve spent 45 percent of our board meetings asking questions every single meeting for four months on architects,” he said.

McKelvy said that all board members should be involved but not the public.

“I do feel like the board can do this work,” she said.

Medina said, “You want to find an architect that’s going to work the best for the district, but … you want no input from the administration and no input from the people actually doing the repair and maintenance?”

McKelvy said that Medina and a few other board members did not totally seek the opinion of all other board members when holding advisory committee meetings with outsiders.

“We were not aware of that committee and you know it,” she said.

Kelly said, “Everyone was aware of it so you can stop that.”

At the end of the discussions, board members McKelvy, Daniel Adams, Brian Cross and Kevin McDermott cast votes for Scenario A.

“To me, this is business as usual for Proviso,” Kelly said following the vote.

Before calling to adjourn, McKelvy said, “How is this business as usual when this is a committee of the whole? I believe this is work that the board of education can do.” VFP

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PMSA Student Admitted Into Ivy League Now Looking For Funding

Marquan Jones ITuesday, February 23, 2016 || Originally Published: Forest Park Review || By Matthew Hendrickson

Marquan Jones of Maywood thinks his future looks pretty bright, and he’s understandably excited about it.

Jones, a senior at Proviso Mathematics and Science Academy (PMSA) in Forest Park, said he learned he was accepted at Cornell University, a private, Ivy-League school in Ithaca, New York, just a few days before Christmas.

“It was really the ultimate Christmas gift,” Jones recalled recently. “I know the course work is going to be challenging, but I’m excited by it.”

Jones, who participates in debate club and theater club among others at PMSA, is also a three-sport athlete at Proviso East High School where he played basketball, track & field, and football.

Jones said he learned of his acceptance in December because he was an early-decision applicant. He thought he had a good chance, he said, but it was still “a reach” to think he would be accepted.

“Cornell was my reach school,” Jones said. “It has a 14 percent acceptance rate, or something like that.”

Jones said before learned he was accepted, he figured he might attend the University of Illinois. In addition to applying for Cornell, he also applied to 15 other schools, several of which were interested in him continuing as a student athlete in their sports programs.

Cornell University offers no athletic or merit scholarships, but Jones said he’ll still be interested in participating in sports clubs in some way at the university once he feels comfortable with the course load, plus any other clubs he might be interested in joining.

Jones spent his early years living on Chicago’s West Side before his family moved to Maywood when he was in third grade. His experience growing up in Maywood, he said, has greatly influenced his educational interests and his desire to succeed.

A poet whose favorite writer is Langston Hughes, Jones describes himself as competitive and driven in everything he does. Whether it’s athletics or academics, he said he approaches everything the same way: aiming to be the best.

His interest in both classroom and sports excellence influenced what he believes will be his course of study at Cornell — food science and nutrition.

“In Maywood, we don’t even have a grocery store, just an abundance of fast food and liquor stores,” Jones said. “There’s a lack of knowledge about healthy eating. I think it’s easier to get a bag of potato chips for 50 cents.”

His food science passion isn’t new. Between his freshman and sophomore years, he participated in a one-week food science research program at the University of Illinois. He enjoyed the program so much he returned for a month-long program between his junior and senior years. Through those programs, he learned more about how food is made and developed with consumer tastes in mind. He even conducted a survey of over 150 students about their granola bar preferences and found that texture was more important than flavor. He’s interested in learning more about food production from start to finish.

“Being a city boy, I always thought of agriculture as just farming, but it’s more than that,” Jones said.

He’s not about to become a farmer — he’s more interested in the research side of things — but he would like to take his knowledge and use it to help communities like his own.

“I want to find a way to help people, to find ways to do better sustainably, that kind of thing,” he said. “When I was little and learned about world hunger, I wanted to do something to … save the world.”

He’s already started down that path. As a student at PMSA, he spoke with students at Maywood’s Irving Middle School about nutrition and mental health issues. But more importantly, he said, is coming back to the community again after Cornell. Jones said he feels returning is especially important.

“Coming from Maywood is hard,” Jones said. “If people only move out and don’t come back, then what does that do? That’s not OK to me. I want to come back and be a positive influence.”

He feels it’s unfortunate that people sometimes judge a person who comes from Maywood, or who act surprised that he lives there after they talk to him. He described the surprise people felt when his debate team did well after competing against more affluent school districts.

“They were surprised we were from Proviso,” Jones said. “It’s just overshadowed by the negative in the neighborhood.”

Jones said he credits his parents first for his academic enthusiasm. He said they taught him how to think, not what to think. That ethos, he said, continued at PMSA. He felt lucky to be able to attend the school. Being around other high performing students pushed him to try harder, he said.

Like most students going on to higher education in the fall, he said his biggest concern is about taking out student loans. He worries that he will graduate in debt and be unable to find a good job. At the moment, he’s looking into every opportunity for scholarships that he can get his hands on, he said.

In March, Jones will head to Washington D.C. with other students as part of a panel to discuss ways to build up and improve their communities, he said. He was offered the opportunity to participate after he won an essay contest through the Hillside Human Relations Commission’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. essay contest in January.

Now 18 and able to cast a vote in this year’s election, Jones said he was excited about the trip to the nation’s capital. He has also considered going to law school after graduating in order to work for government agencies on food safety — or even run for president one day. Why not?

“But I’ll start smaller,” Jones quipped. “I need to work myself up. Maybe I’ll become the mayor of Maywood first.” VFP

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