Tag: Proviso Township District 209

‘There’s an Energy at Work at Proviso East and D209,’ Notes Forest Park Review Editorial

Principal Hardy 2

Proviso East Principal Patrick Hardy walks the cafeteria at Proviso East High School in 2016. | Forest Park Review File

Wednesday, January 25, 2017 || By Forest Park Review Editorial Board || Originally Published: Forest Park Review || @maywoodnews

Last Thursday, the editorial staff of the Review took a field trip to Proviso East and to the school district’s administrative offices atop the Proviso Math and Science Academy. It was a gratifying and encouraging excursion as we sat down first for a conversation with Dr. Jesse Rodriguez, the new District 209 superintendent, and then toured East with both Rodriguez and Dr. Patrick Hardy, the school’s principal.

There is an energy at work at Proviso East and in the district headquarters that is radically improved from even the recent past. Rodriguez and Hardy share a charisma and an intensity that is seemingly contagious. You see it in the enthusiastic and personal interactions with colleagues, from security guards to teachers to school secretaries.

With Hardy, who appears to be omnipresent within the hallways and classrooms of East, you see it and appreciate it most in his casual and purposeful connections to students. Walking through a lunchroom — a space that is calm and happy — he is pointing to individual students who soon gather around our group and with a minimal prompt introduce themselves with poise. Ask them anything, he says, and the students tell of why they are at East and what their experience has been.

East is an old building where perpetually bad district management left most all maintenance on the long-deferred list. But last summer the district invested $7 million in invisible and unglamorous fixes. And with diligent work, the building is clean and welcoming, its hallways filled with attentive adults and a diverse student body, which on this day was relaxed and focused as it moved from class to class.

For Forest Park, a village that has consciously turned its back on this school over decades, Hardy is encouraged that so far this school year he has hosted four groups of Forest Parkers for tours after seeing none in his first year at the school. And last night, after press time, the district’s rolling listening tour came to Forest Park’s own village hall. This is, of course, unheard of.

A couple of years back in our last visit to the fifth-floor lair of district administrators at PMSA, we found an entrance locked to any casual visitor, darkened hallways and an array of mostly empty, beige offices. And that doesn’t even touch the subject of the defensiveness of the administrator we talked with then.

Now with Rodriguez having gathered most of his team to the same floor, having put some color on the walls and some school mascots on display, the HQ felt purposeful and on the offensive. Rodriguez and the district’s new communications person, Cynthia Moreno, actually offered documents and data and went and found more information on student demographics and enrollment that we asked for.

This was a confident and realistic welcome by administrators who have an actual plan of action, who acknowledge the abiding challenges of the district but seem determined and hopeful that they are already seeing the first signs of momentum among students, teachers, parents and the Proviso community.

With a school board election in April, Forest Parkers can support this developing momentum by paying attention and engaging. VFP

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D209 to Kickoff Community Town Hall Meetings in Maywood, Tonight, Sept. 22, 6:30 PM

Rep. Welch Town Hall

Thursday, September 22, 2016 || By COMMUNITY EDITOR || @maywoodnews

[By PROVISO TOWNSHIP DISTRICT 209] The Proviso Township High Schools District 209 Board of Education and Dr. Jesse J. Rodríguez, superintendent for District 209, will host a series of town hall meetings in each of the 10 villages that are within the district, beginning with Maywood on Thursday, September 22.

The town hall meetings, which will each take place between 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., are an opportunity for parents and community members in each village to meet with Board members and Dr. Rodríguez, ask questions, and learn more about the direction of District 209.

“Our schools are your schools, and we value all input from members of the community,” Dr. Rodríguez said. “We welcome parents and other residents of our villages to dialogue with us on the direction our schools should go.”

One or more members of the Board of Education also will be in attendance. Mrs. Teresa D. McKelvy, president of the Board of Education, said that this is “a wonderful opportunity for our parents and community members to meet our new Superintendent and collaborate with the Board of Education.”

“We value your ideas, so come out and lend your voice to assist us in our efforts of being more inclusive,” she said.

Town hall meetings during the first semester of the 2016-2017 school year will take place on the following dates:

  • Thursday, September 22 – Maywood Village Council Chambers (125 South Fifth Avenue in Maywood)
  • Monday, October 3 – Stone Park Village Hall (1825 North 32nd Avenue in Stone Park)
  • Thursday, October 27 – Melrose Park Civic Center (1000 North 25th Avenue in Melrose Park)
  • Monday, November 14 – Hillside Elementary School (4804 Harrison Street in Hillside)
  • Monday, December 5 – Westchester Public Library (10700 Canterbury Street in Westchester)

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