Forest Park, IL..
.The inaugural Freshman Transition Program was a success in Proviso Township High Schools District 209.
The two-day program was well-attended, with 585 students attending the sessions. At Proviso East High School, 180 students attended, while 261 students attended the two-day session at Proviso West High School. Proviso Math and Science Academy had 144 students attend its session. The Freshman Transition program is designed to provide incoming freshmen with the support that they will need for a successful start to their high school careers, said Dr. Nettie Collins-Hart, superintendent of District 209. This is in addition to the traditional Freshman Orientation, which occurred on Friday, August 16.
"Getting a good start to the high school years helps students be better learners and be better prepared to graduate successfully from high school," Dr. Collins-Hart said. "We want our students to feel good about our schools and be comfortable in their new settings. The additional time in the schools before the regular school year will help our students to feel good about our schools and be comfortable in their new settings."
During the course of the two-day program, the students learned tips for becoming a successful high school student, different ways to get involved in activities at their school, and how to begin preparing for life after high school. They also learned how to develop positive relationships with each other and school staff, played games, had an ice cream social, learned about high school requirements, and had discussions about their concerns, anxieties, and needs as they move into high school.
At Proviso West, the program included meeting in small groups. They heard from student-athletes Cinia McCray, a sophomore basketball player, and Denzel Tolliver, a senior football player. Students also won door prizes including T-shirts and calculators. Mr. Oscar Hawthorne, principal, told the students that they were not alone as they began life at Proviso West, as he is new as well.
"We’re going to learn together," he said. "We’re going to grow together."
Tajohanae Ashcraft, 13 and a Proviso West freshman, said that she appreciated being able to become more familiar with the school that she will attend for the next four years.
"It was a good way of knowing what’s going on at the school, to meet some of the teachers," she said.
Students at Proviso East had a similar program. Mr. Tony Valente, principal at Proviso East, said that the program was a needed addition to the schools’ outreach to incoming freshmen.
"It’s a huge step forward in acclimating our incoming freshmen to life at Proviso East High School," he said. "Research shows that the more freshmen are familiar with their surroundings, the better kids will do."
Jalon Chiles, a Proviso East freshman, said that he liked learning more about the school as well.
"They had a lot of group associated events," he said. "They showed us around the school."
The Freshman Transition Program is part of interventions with students put in place by the district. If the success of the program on August 12 and 13 is any indication, the Class of 2017 is off to a great start!