Forest Park, IL...
Administrators, teachers, and students from Proviso Math and Science Academy presented information on ways to improve the school at a community forum held at PMSA on Monday, February 25.
The forum, which was sponsored by the Board of Education, included Ms. Kim Echols, principal at PMSA, and a panel of teachers and parents discussing the steps the school is taking to raise student achievement on state tests and other areas. The forum was the last in a series of five that the Board of Education sponsored that focused on school improvement at each of Proviso Township High Schools District 209’s three schools.
Dr. Nettie Collins-Hart, superintendent of District 209, said that PMSA has a "record of excellence" since its opening in 2005. However, more can be done.
"We’re doing well, but we can and will do better," she said.
Ms. Echols said that 75 percent of PMSA’s juniors met or exceeded state standards on the ACT/PSAE in 2012, the highest it has ever been. This included the 76 percent of the 104 males in the class being considered proficient in reading and 85 percent of the boys meeting or exceeding state standards in math.
"The boys are doing awesome," Ms. Echols said. "If you look at the trend data, you will not see this at any other school in the state. There’s no other school doing what we’re doing with this level of diversity."
To continue raising student achievement, faculty and staff have been leading students through 15 extra minutes of reading non-fiction each day, teaching more writing skills, and partnering with Triton College to allow students to earn dual college credit while still in high school, among other tasks. Currently, 15 percent of PMSA’s nearly 900 students are taking dual credit courses at Triton.
PMSA also is evaluating its school improvement plan as it continues to further raise student achievement. That includes taking steps to raise scores on the ACT, of which the Class of 2012 averaged 22.6, above the state average of 20.9 and the national average of 21.1. The steps include extra ACT Prep on Saturdays and preparation for the PSAE through the Work Keys test.
"We’re taking steps in the right direction, and we’re not going to stop until we get to that number one spot," Ms. Echols said. "The kids are getting motivated because they’re seeing the level of progress they’re making."
Ms. Echols also said that PMSA recently was awarded a $49,000 grant to explore starting an Advanced Placement program at the school.
Key to succeeding in school, however, is the support of parents.