The Proviso Township High Schools District 209 Board of Education honored several students and teachers from Proviso East High School for their performance and service to the school at its regular meeting on Tuesday, December 10, at Proviso East.
Mr. Tony Valente, principal at Proviso East, said that the following students were nominated for honorary awards from the University of Rochester: Conrad Blash, for winning the Bausch and Lomb Science Award; Ivan Garcia, for winning the Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony Award; and Takyra Silmon, for winning the George Eastman Young Leaders Award. In addition, students Devonta Brown, Ivan Garcia, Teonikka Fancher, and LaDarius Sapho were recognized for winning National Honor Society Certificates of Merit. Also, Jevon Carter was recognized for his recent acceptance of a full four-year Division I scholarship to attend school and play basketball at West Virginia University in Morgantown, W.V.
Along with the students, Ms. Ashley Glickman, an English teacher, and Mr. Robert Moynihan, a special education teacher, were honored for being selected as teacher of the month in September and October, respectively. In addition, Mr. Glenn Lid, a science teacher and the head baseball coach at Proviso East, was recognized for his induction into the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
Mr. Valente also presented Proviso East’s school improvement plan to the Board. He said that the school has seen significant improvement in many areas during the last few years, but more work remains to be done. The improvements include higher scores on state testing, a more than 100 percent increase in the percentage of students who meet or exceed standards in reading on the Prairie State Achievement Exam (PSAE), a 21-percentage point increase in the PSAE participation rate, and a graduation rate that climbed to 73 percent for the Class of 2013.
"It’s the collaborative efforts of our teachers and administrators to get the students through our curriculum," Mr. Valente said.
Mr. Valente said that the efforts have included programs such as Dream Team and ACT Prep and an increased focus on literacy. Administrators do "weekly learning walks" to work with teachers on engaging students. There also has been work to ensure that the Proviso East building is in good shape, with floors being reconditioned, many classrooms being repainted, and artists painting murals to encourage student achievement throughout the school.
"We want the building to be welcome and conducive to learning," Mr. Valente said. "We’re just not doing (the work) on paper. We’re going in classrooms and asking the kids what they are learning."
Mr. Valente said that future goals include increasing the number of juniors taking the ACT/PSAE to 95 percent and boosting reading and math scores on the PSAE by at least 20 percent. The goals would be accomplished through continued monitoring of test data, feedback from parents who are invited to attend monthly school improvement committee meetings at Proviso East, and working with teachers to adjust curriculum to fit students’ needs.
"We want to get that student-centered instruction," Mr. Valente said. "The key is that we have to keep plugging away at it."
Mrs. Kim Echols, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction for the District, said district officials are reviewing its special education programs to better serve students with disabilities and doing more professional development for teachers to better serve students.
"We want to be better," Mrs. Echols said, "and we want to be the best school district in the state of Illinois. Our goal is to improve student achievement and that begins with a teacher."
The Board also received information about the District’s annual audit report. Brett Mathieson of Mathieson, Moyski, Celer, & Co. LLP, the firm that conducted the District’s audit, said that the District ranked in the state’s highest ranking category for financial health. This was the fourth straight year that the District has ranked in the highest financial category.
"It’s a very good report," said Mr. Daniel Adams, president of the Board of Education.