Tag: Regina Rivers

‘Books In Schools Not Bullets!’: Local Leaders Blast Proposal To Arm Teachers

Sunday, November 18, 2018 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews 

District 89 school board member Regina Rivers speaks out against the IASB’s proposed resolution during a press conference convened by state Rep. Emanuel Chris Welch, right, in Chicago. | Photo by Tara A. Gray/Facebook 

On Saturday, state Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch (7th) convened a press conference in Chicago to protest a resolution that could have empowered local school boards to allow teachers and administrators to carry guns in school.

Continue reading “‘Books In Schools Not Bullets!’: Local Leaders Blast Proposal To Arm Teachers”

Maywood Family Fest A Hit for Local Vendors, Entertainers

maywood-fest-attendees-dance-to-live-entertainment-on-saturday

There was dancing, bingo, prizes and much more during last weekend’s Maywood Family Fest. | Shanel Romain/VFP

there-was-bingo-and-prizes-during-last-weekends-maywood-family-festWednesday, September 21, 2016 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

Maywood Village Manager Willie Norfleet, Jr. stood in Maywood Veterans Park on last Sunday, basking in the Gospel sounds of the group Chris & The Network. The choir was among at least seven lineups that took the stage during the last day of the Maywood Family Fest, which took place over three days last week from Sept. 16 through Sept. 18.

“We spent around $20,000 on this event and I’m assuming we may be slightly over that amount, but the exchange was well worth it,” Norfleet said.

There were pony rides, dozens of musical acts spanning numerous genres — from Jazz to Hip-Hop to Latin — food and drinks (including jerk pizza, fresh lemonade and gourmet popcorn) from local vendors and wares from local entrepreneurs like Maywood-based catering company Three Dudes and a Chick (whose owners said the fest was their first public catering event since they started their business) and S’tash Access.

District 89 board member Regina Rivers manned S’tash’s pitched tent, where stylish satchels, sunglasses and a silver mermaid necklace were on display. Rivers the S’tash is the brainchild of her daughter and granddaughter, Yvonne and Adrianna, the latter of whom studied fashion, design and marketing.

“She was born and raised in Maywood and has always been in involved in events that are happening in Maywood,” Rivers said of her daughter.

The fest was also an opportunity for Maywood native Tatym Cole, 14, one half of the duo The Future, to showcase her talents.

“We’re basically two talented kids trying to make it somewhere and change the world,” Cole said as she and her performing partner Keon Logan, 16, prepared to take the stage.

“If anybody is going to make a change it might as well be us,” Cole said, echoing the name of their popular song “We Need Change.” One YouTube video of the song that was uploaded about a month ago has already garnered more than 6,500 views.

“They only make inspirational music and the song they’ve got out right now is epic,” said their manager Liana Grays.

An epic moment during the three-day event was the honoring of the late Eugene “Gene” Moore, the former Cook County Recorder of Deeds, the 7th District’s first black state representative and former Proviso Township trustee. Moore died in June from prostate cancer.

“Gene Moore loved Maywood and he loved Proviso East High School,” said Maywood Mayor Edwenna Perkins during the ceremony. “He didn’t miss any of the games. He traveled on the highway to the games … If we could get that kind of commitment to our town, we could move forward.”

Sue Henry, Moore’s cousin, former office manager and longtime friend, recalled the late politician’s generosity.

“We were always involved with trying to help the community,” Henry said. “Gene would have me help some of everybody, no matter where they lived. He was always trying to do for his fellow man. If someone came up and asked him for $20 and he didn’t have it, he’d say, ‘Sue give me $20.'”

Maywood trustee Isiah Brandon said that he and a group of supporters have started the process of naming the 1300-1400 blocks of South 11th Avenue, where Moore was a longtime homeowner, after the Maywood power player.

“We’ve had no incidents, just a lot of good conversation, people chatting and enjoying themselves,” said Norfleet. “This is exactly what the title says, ‘Maywood Family Fest.’”

In cased you miss it, take a look at some video footage of the three-day event that participants produced here. VFP

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New D89 Superintendent Gets Up Close and Personal With Community, Touts District’s Diversity

imageWednesday, May 27, 2015 || By Michael Romain 

MELROSE PARK || A crowd of at least 60 people convened today, Wed., May 27, at the Maywood-Melrose Park-Broadview District 89 administrative offices, 906 Walton Street, to meet David Negron (pictured), the district’s newest superintendent. Negron is the principal of Heritage Middle School of District 104 in Summit, Illinois. According to Negron, Heritage has a population of about 570 sixth through eighth grade students. His effective start date with D89 is July 1, he said.

Negron has a background in school social work and was formerly a bilingual education teacher before becoming a principal. He also has roots in Melrose Park, where he was employed by Westlake Hospital for over a year, and in Maywood, where some of his family members resided before moving to Texas, Negron said.

Board member Regina Rivers said Negron was selected from a pool of about 40 candidates and that his bilingual education background was particularly attractive.

“He came from a district that is similar to ours and has the [middle school] structure,” she said. “That he is bilingual also helps a whole lot when dealing with parents of both [African American and Hispanic] ethnicities. It will also be important when [working with] the dual language academy.”

District 89 board member Dianne Williams said that the presence of a community focus group enhanced the hiring process, which Rivers said was facilitated by an outside party. Williams said the focus group comprised a range of people, including district principals, union reps, district office staff members, parents and teachers.

“That was really important for us to hear the feedback from them,” Williams said of the focus group, adding that the group was almost unanimous in its support for Negron.

Williams noted that an important aspect of Negron’s candidacy was his committment to stay for the long haul. Former D89 superintendent Michael Robey was with the district for three years before his resignation last summer. Williams said Robey left “on his own accord.”

“Dr. Robey did great things for us and we appreciate what he did, but we do need someone who is going to stay longer and Mr. Negron assured us that that was one of his goals.”

Negron said that part of what lured him to the position with the district is its diversity and its early implementation of the dual language magnet school.

“The culture of diversity in this community was something very appealing to me,” Negron said. “Many districts I’ve been in were just one suburb, one community. [Another thing] that attracted me to the district is its vision of implementing dual language [learning]. That goes back to the culture of diversity. I’m looking forward to the challenge of rolling that out year after year.”

Negron also addressed the issue of communication, which seems to have been a chronic problem during the 2014-15 academic year in which the district transitioned to a middle school format and opened a dual language magnet school. Negron said communication between administration officials, parents, students and staff members is high among his immediate priorities going into the new job.

“Communication was definitely a hot topic of discussion during the job interview process,” he said. “I have what I call an open door policy. A lot of people say that, but not a lot of people mean that. I have no problem with parents calling me directly with their concerns and tough questions. My intention is to communicate with parents on a weekly basis; daily if necessary.”

Negron said that he hopes to create a superintendent’s parent advisory council comprising members of the community, with a representative from each municipality that D89 covers. The council would meet with Negron on a regular basis in order for him to get a ground level sense of what is happening in each community.

But the communication pipeline seemed to be greased immediately during this Wednesday’s meet-and-greet. Among those in attendance were Maywood’s new village manager Willie Norfleet.

“I’m out to support and welcome another partner in raising the quality of life for the children in [District 89] as well as in the Village of Maywood,” Norfleet said.

Larry Shapiro, the senior services coordinator for Maywood and a suburban liasion for U.S. Rep. Danny K. Davis (7th), said he’s looking forward to building on past engagement between the village’s seniors and the school district.

“The [Maywood] Senior Club has actually had children’s choirs from the district to come [perform],” he said. “We want to continue to involve our seniors with our schools and our children so we can have that intergenerational relationship.”

Barbara Cole, the executive director of Maywood Youth Mentoring, said she’s hoping to engage Negron in conversations about enhancing parental involvement within the district.

“I’m looking forward to working with [Negron] on improving parent involvement, which is a key component of improving academics for all children,” Cole said.

For his part, Negron said that he’s ready to begin these many, diverse conversations and noted that he intends to systematize the community dialogue.

“I think you need to put systems in place to make communication happen,” he said. “It doesn’t happen on its own.” VFP

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