Tag: Proviso West High School

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”


Fallen Proviso West Football Star A Profile of Forgiveness

Sunday, August 20, 2017 || By Local News Curator || @maywoodnews

Feature Photo: Hubert “Boo Boo” Thompson during his days at Proviso West 

Hubert “Boo Boo” Thompson, 38, was once so dominant on the football field as an elite defensive lineman for Proviso West High School that highly respected recruits thought he might be able to skip college and go straight to the NFL.

The national recruiting analyst Tom Lemming described Thompson as “one of the best defensive linemen ever to come out of the Chicago area.”

Continue reading “Fallen Proviso West Football Star A Profile of Forgiveness”

D209 Officials Say Asbestos Removal Will Be Completed By Start of School Year

Remove materials containing some asbestos

Stock image of asbestos removal | Environmental Construction Solutions 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017 || By Thomas Vogel/Forest Park Review || @maywoodnews

The District 209 Board of Education, at its July 11 meeting, unanimously approved a $297,613.15 contract with an outside firm to remove asbestos, repair school kitchens and replace floors at Proviso East and West.

That approval comes just as two other projects, a $2.2 million heating and piping upgrade and a new $1.1 million security system are nearing completion.

D209 is working to transform certain parts of its campus into personalized learning centers, parent centers and blended learning labs as well as updating teacher lounges. The asbestos removal and kitchen repair work is part of that effort. All work is scheduled to be completed by mid-August, before the start of the 2017-2018 school year.

There will be five or six “personalized learning centers” at both Proviso East and West, repurposing current office and classroom space, Supt. Dr. Jesse Rodriguez said July 17. Those centers will serve about 200 of the district’s roughly 1,000 so-called “credit deficient” students, using on-site counselors, a somewhat different layout than a traditional classroom and a lower teacher-to-student ratio to help students fulfill graduation requirements.

“It’s a little wing, an area of the building where we will provide services to those students based on their individual needs,” Rodriguez said. “The idea is make sure they are achieving credits. That’s the idea, to go away from the traditional setting. We know the traditional setting didn’t work for these kids.”

The district may expand those centers in the future, Rodriguez added. He is hopeful, however, that the schools system can address the credit issue using upfront collaboration with the district’s feeder schools and working with students and families.

“Right now,” Rodriguez said, “there is a big need.”

Of the eight bids, Franklin Park-based Husar Abatement submitted the lowest quote, at just under $300,000 and about $50,000 less than the next lowest bid. Work is set to begin after the district’s Financial Oversight Panel approves the contract.

The $2.2 million project includes mechanical, electrical and plumbing work at all three of the district’s schools. This includes pool ventilation, HVAC, auditorium air conditioning and a grease trap. That work, which will be done by contractor C. Ascitelli, should be finished by Aug. 1. The bid was first approved by the district’s Financial Oversight Panel in September 2016.

For the $1.1 million security system upgrade, D209 contracted with Pace Systems Inc. The roughly 600 cameras at Proviso East and West were “old and beyond their useful life.”

Todd Drafall, D209’s chief financial and operations manager, said July 17, it has been at least a decade since the last upgrade.

According to documents in the board’s July 11 meeting packet, that work was scheduled to be finished by June 30. The district’s Financial Oversight Panel approved the bid in July 2016.

The three projects come as D209 continues to work toward completing its Facilities Master Plan, a holistic, long-range planning document for the school system’s physical footprint. As reported by the Review, the D209 Board of Education approved a $139,900 contract in June with Chicago-based consultant Perkins and Will to draft the plan. That work, which includes research on current facilities, focus groups and community meetings, is ongoing.

“It is imperative that we have that plan done as soon as possible,” Rodriguez said. “We’re talking about millions of dollars and more.” VFP

F E A T U R E D  E V E N T Business reception Detailed Flyer_July

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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Proviso West Gets New ‘Turnaround Principal’

Nia Abdullah.jpg

Nia Abdullah, who was recently hired to replace Oscar Hawthorne as principal of Proviso West High School. | Bowen HS Alumni Association 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews || Updated: 7/15/17

During a June 13 regular meeting, the Proviso Township High Schools District 209 school board unanimously approved the hiring of Nia Abdullah as the principal at Proviso West High School in Hillside.  Abdullah will replace the school’s outgoing principal, Oscar Hawthorne, starting June 19. Her starting salary is $156,960.

Abullah is currently the principal of Bowen High School, a 4-year public school within the Chicago Public Schools system.

Abdullah is a 1998 graduate of Howard, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, according to her LinkedIn profile. She also has a Doctor of Education in Urban Education Leadership from the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Education.

Abdullah has been in education for 11 years. She started her career in 2006 at Hyde Park High School in Chicago, where she was a math teacher, curriculum coordinator and math department chair. She was resident principal at John Hay Community Academy from 2010 until 2011, when she became assistant principal at Bowen High School. She was promoted to principal of the school in 2013.

According to a profile by UIC’s Center for Urban Education Leadership, Abdullah was featured in a 2014 symposium at the University of Chicago entitled, “Black Young Men in America: Rising above Social and Racial Prejudice, Trauma, and Educational Disparities.”

The UEL profile notes that Abdullah talked about the “challenges she faces at Bowen,” where she had crafted “a warm and inviting environment for African American males geared to push for excellence both academically and behaviorally.”

“We have to accept them as they are and be able to hold them accountable as well at the same time,” Abdullah said. “We need to know exactly what they need academically but support them regardless of how they come to us.”

Abdullah was listed as a “turnaround principal” on a June 2017 personnel report, which did not include the length of Abdullah’s contract. District 209 officials could not be immediately contacted for comment. VFP

This article has been updated to correct information about Abdullah’s professional background. 

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D209 to Host Focus Group for Proviso West Principal Search Today, April 6, 6:30 PM

Proviso Township District 209Thursday, April 6, 2017 || By Community Editor || @maywoodnews

According to a statement released by District 209, the district “invites students, parents, elected officials, and community members to participate in the search process for a new Principal at Proviso West High School.

Current Proviso West Principal Oscar Hawthorne announced last year that he would retire at the end of this school year.

“The District has partnered with BWP & Associates to conduct the Principal search for Proviso West High School. We ask that you join the focus group on April 6, to share with us the qualities and characteristics that you seek in the new educational leader for PTHS D209.

“The District has partnered with BWP & Associates to conduct the Principal search for Proviso West High School. We ask that you join the focus group on April 6, to share with us the qualities and characteristics that you seek in the new educational leader for PTHS D209.”

The district also asks community members to complete a survey relating to the principal search by April 10. You can access the survey by clicking here.

The focus group will take place Thursday, April 6, 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., at Proviso West High School, 4701 Harrison St. in Hillside. VFP

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Proviso West Principal Announces Resignation, Search to Begin Soon

Oscar Hawthorne.jpgTuesday, March 7, 2017 || By Thomas Vogel for Forest Park Review || @maywoodnews

Proviso School District 209 will begin searching for Proviso West High School’s next principal in the coming days and intends to have a candidate ready for final Board of Education approval by May or June.

Oscar Hawthorne, West’s current principal, announced his resignation in January. The search is the latest example of leadership turnover at Proviso. D209 Supt. Jesse Rodriguez began his tenure as superintendent just eight months ago, in July 2016, and finding a new Proviso West principal will be one of his most significant hires to date.

“We are looking for a turnaround principal for Proviso West,” Rodriguez said March 3. “We are looking for someone who can produce results. This is a very, very important position.”

D209 will partner with BWP & Associates, a Libertyville-based search firm and the agreement pays BWP about $11,000, according to Rodriguez, who noted that any candidate must receive final approval from the D209 Board of Education in a straight-up majority vote. Community members, school staff and students will be involved in the process, which will include several rounds of interviews. It is also likely to be an outside hire, although district employees can apply for the job, Rodriguez said.

The district is targeting someone with at least four years of experience as a high-school principal and someone with a “proven track record of improving student achievement.” Leadership skills and an emphasis on leveraging data-driven strategies is important, too, Rodriguez said.

Currently, he added, about 40 people have applied but he expects the list to balloon to around 75. BWP will whittle that number down to about a dozen. From there, the hiring committee, which includes Rodriguez, school staff and human resources employees, will conduct more interviews and present a handful of candidates to the board.

“We need folks who are driven. We need folks who are committed,” Rodriguez said. “Many, many people will be intimidated by the work that needs to be done.”

Indeed, there is plenty of room for academic improvement at Proviso West. The 2016 four-year graduation rate was 78 percent and just 56 percent of the school’s roughly 2,000 students enroll at a university or college after graduation. Both percentages are below the Illinois state average. About two-thirds of students did not meet Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test benchmarks either, according to the Illinois Report Card, the state’s official source.

Hawthorne, who served as principal for four years, was not available for comment. But in a bi-monthly newsletter to parents, he wrote, “It is with deep appreciation that I have had the honor of serving as principal” and mentioned he would be moving on to “other interests.”

In Hawthorne’s first year as principal in 2013, Proviso West’s four-year graduation rate was 77 percent. The 2016 rate was 78 percent. Since 2014, the percentage of freshmen on track to graduate has more than doubled from 25 percent to 62 percent.

Hawthorne is the school’s third principal in the last six years. His salary in 2015-2016 was $160,783, according to district records.

The April 4 school board election will not affect the search process, Rodriguez said. By the time the board is asked to vote on the potential hires, the election will have taken place.

The D209 board approved the hiring of another top administrator, Dr. Nicole Howard, as assistant superintendent for Academics and Student and Family Services, at its Jan. 10 meeting. She will be paid $156,960 annually.

Rodriguez sees parallels to the current principal search and his own hiring in July 2016 and said the role, like his own, will be difficult but also rewarding.

“I did recognize the opportunities and challenges of Proviso,” Rodriguez said of his decision to accept the district’s top job. “That’s what I want for the Proviso West principal. They are going to be working long hours.” VFP


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