Tag: Proviso West

Proviso Students Planning Walkout On March 14

Tuesday, March 6, 2018 || By Michael Romain & Nona Tepper || @maywoodnews || Updated: 10 p.m. 

Featured image: Students walk out of Oak Park and River Forest High School on Feb. 21. Proviso West students will take their lead on March 14 and stage a walkout of their own, along with students across the country. | Alexa Rogals 

Students at Proviso Township High Schools District 209 are planning to join students across the country during what’s being called the Enough National School Walkout, which will take place at 10 a.m. on March 14 — one month after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

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A Conversation With East’s Boyce and West’s Longstreet

Sunday, December 3, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews 

Ahead of their home openers on Dec. 1, Proviso East basketball coach Donnie Boyce and Proviso West basketball coach Anthony Longstreet each talked about what they’re looking forward to from their respective teams this season.

Continue reading “A Conversation With East’s Boyce and West’s Longstreet”

District 209 Could Create Annual Mandatory Parent Meeting

Thursday, November 9, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews 

Featured image: Mike Burries, a member of the district’s parent and community engagement committee during a Nov. 8 meeting, where a proposal to create an annual mandatory parent meeting was introduced. | Michael Romain/VFP

Mandatory parent meetings could be coming to Proviso Township High Schools District 209 starting next year. District 209 board member Rodney Alexander introduced the proposal during the inaugural meeting of the newly reconfigured parent and community engagement committee, held Nov. 8 at Proviso West High School in Hillside.

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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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Former Panther Standout Jamaal Payton Savoring Chance to Shine


Jamaal Payton during a recent practice for the NIU Huskies. | Photo by niuhuskies.com

Wednesday, August 31, 2016 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

Former Proviso West standout Jamaal Payton is savoring the opportunity to prove himself this Saturday, when he’ll start at middle linebacker for the Northern Illinois University Huskies in their season opener against Wyoming, according to DeKalb’s Daily Chronicle.

Payton, a senior, had been a reserve for the last three seasons, playing behind a decorated veteran. Before his scheduled start on Saturday, Patyon, the Chronicle notes, had started three other times at NIU.

Now, this season is all about him.

“It feels great, man. A long time coming,” Payton, who graduated from West in 2013, told the Chronicle.

“It’s something I’ve been prepared for and something that I’ve been mentally preparing myself for throughout the years.”

Payton told the paper that the process of getting to starting linebacker was hard, but within the struggle was wrapped a life lesson.

“think it taught me a lot of things about my character and how to deal with myself and things that will prepare me for life,” he said.

To read the full Chronicle article on Payton, click here. And now, a local high school football briefing:

Provisos East and West lose home openers

The Proviso East football team lost its home opener against visiting Maine West 14-0 last Saturday. The Daily Herald reports that the visitors won the game on defense:

“I think we can do some great things with this team this year,” said Warriors defensive end Malik Siem. “We need to keep our focus. We won today because we did our job on defense. My job today was to fend off the offensive tackle and keep the running backs pinned inside.”

You can read recaps of that game here and here.

Last Friday, the Proviso West football team lost its home opener against Lincoln-Way West 30-8, in a game that Herald-News writer Tim Cronin described as sloppily played on the part of the visiting team. Read Cronin’s recap of that game here. VFP

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Rodríguez Officially Takes Helm at D209 with ‘One Proviso’ Tour

Rodriguez_no_name-3801.JPGThursday, July 14, 2016 || Originally Published By PROVISO TOWNSHIP D209 || 7/7/16

Proviso Township High Schools District 209 officially welcomed Dr. Jesse J. Rodríguez as its superintendent this week.

“I am excited and honored to be the superintendent for District 209,” Dr. Rodríguez said. “The staff and community have been very welcoming, and I look forward to working with them in creating fruitful and successful learning opportunities for our students.

Dr. Rodríguez said that he wants to spend much of his first year learning more about Proviso High Schools and its students, teachers, and staff as well as the community. He outlined his plans, which can be found on the District 209 website

“Our collective plan will build on the strengths of PTHS 209 and identify the most powerful strategies for addressing our challenges as opportunities while addressing the significant achievement gaps directly with perseverance and firmness,” he said. “It is critical that we learn as much as possible quickly, assessing data to determine what is and is not working in our school district.”

Dr. Rodríguez brings more than 19 years of leadership experience to Proviso Township High Schools. He began his career teaching Spanish at the high school level in Milwaukee. He later served as a middle school assistant principal and received a promotion to acting principal in an elementary school, leading to his first principal position in Milwaukee. Dr. Rodríguez served a campus that was centered on middle and high school instruction with a professional development component and instructional resources for teachers in the Milwaukee Public Schools. After a successful career as a school principal, he became the Vice President for Education for La Causa, Inc., a non-profit offering multi-faceted community and educational services, where he was responsible for administrative functions relative to education.

In July 2011, Dr. Rodríguez became the Regional Director of School Support for the Southwest Region with the Milwaukee Public Schools. His main function was to ensure effective operations for more than 32 schools with approximately 20,000 students. Upon successful performance as a Regional Director of School Support, the Milwaukee Public Schools promoted Dr. Rodríguez to Regional Superintendent for the Southwest Region, a position in which he served until he assumed the superintendent role at District 209.

Dr. Rodríguez holds a Bachelor of Arts in history and Spanish, with a minor in secondary education from Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisconsin. He also has a Master of Science in educational leadership from Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee, and a Doctor of Philosophy with a focus on leadership, learning, research, and service from Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee.

Superintendent Tours ‘One Proviso’


An aim of Dr. Jesse J. Rodríguez, superintendent of Proviso Township High Schools District 209, during his first days on the job is work toward a united Proviso.

Dr. Rodríguez, along with members of the district’s administration, visited Proviso East High School and Proviso West High School on July 11. During their visit, they learned more about the summer school program currently ongoing along with various aspects of the schools’ programs and facilities.

Making the visits with Dr. Rodríguez were Dr. Diane Deckert, district director of assessment and planning; Mr. Todd Drafall, district chief financial officer and business manager; Dr. Bessie Karvelas, principal at Proviso Mathematics and Science Academy; Ms. Vanessa Schmitt, district director of special education; Dr. Jeremy Burnham, district English Language Learners coordinator; Ms. Antoinette Rayburn, district chair of guidance; Dr. Tracy Lett, district chair of career and technical education, and Mr. Rob Daniel, district community and public relations coordinator.

Dr. Rodríguez said that he wanted to deepen that the district’s leadership team’s familiarity with the entire district and continue preparations for the upcoming school year.

“We’re one team, one Proviso,” he said.

For more photos of the tours, please click here. VFP

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