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School Improvement Team Addresses School Improvement at Board Forum

February 8, 2013 09:00 AM
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Hillside, IL...Administrators, teachers, and students from Proviso West High School presented information on ways to improve the school at a community forum on Monday, February 4, at the school.

The forum, which was sponsored by the Board of Education, featured Dr. Roudell Kirkwood, principal at Proviso West, and Dan Johnson, assistant principal at Proviso West, discussing the steps the school is taking to raise student achievement on state tests and other areas. Dr. Kirkwood said under the school’s "Rising Star" program, administrators and faculty look at 104 indicators in impacting areas including student achievement, school culture, and parent and community involvement. This includes the school maintaining a database that has information such as a student’s test scores and behavior.

"We want to make sure there’s a structure in place," Dr. Kirkwood said. "Our goal is that at least 90 percent of our students graduate."

WestForum2-020413-smMr. Johnson said that in order to reach the student achievement goals that have been set, the school is offering various programs to help students improve their performance and to help faculty determine which students need more help. Juniors took a practice ACT on January 8, with the data being sent to the school soon afterward. In addition to in-class reviews, 80 students are participating in an ACT Prep program that is being offered now through April 20, the Saturday before they take the ACT/PSAE on April 23 and 24. There also are online ACT Prep and KeyTrain programs during school and on Saturdays, as well as teachers receiving more professional development in improving literacy among students.

WestForum3-020413-smHowever, to ensure goals are met, Dr. Kirkwood said that parents need to be involved in their students’ education.

"We have put a plan in place," he said. "That won’t work unless you as parents are involved. We need to be sure we’re working together to make this happen."

Dr. Kirkwood also discussed the school’s campaign to stress the importance of doing well on the state tests. With the slogan of "20 and 5 – We Will Arrive," he said that the goal is for the school’s students to get an average of 20 of 36 on the ACT and 5 of 7 on the second-day PSAE. He stated that parents and other community members need to encourage the juniors to do well.

"We need to make sure we support them," he said.

Dr. Nettie Collins-Hart, superintendent of District 209, said that the test scores define the school in the eyes of state officials, so it is important to raise them. She also said that students who need help in making up classes that they previously failed through credit recovery classes need to stay encouraged.

"Do not give up," Dr. Collins-Hart said. "Be persistent, stay encouraged. We want to meet that need."

The forum participants, who included students at Proviso West, Kendra Martin and Joshua Bowens, also answered parents’ concerns about safety and security at the school. Dr. Kirkwood said that the school’s metal detectors are always functioning, and security staff and administrators are working to maintain safety in the school.

Board members who attended the forum said that the district will do everything necessary to provide a good learning environment for students.

Chris Welch, board member, said that he and other board members have met with the mayors and police chiefs of the 10 communities that make up District 209 to address security concerns.

"We’re going to make sure our schools are safe," he said.
 
The Board of Education will host two additional meetings addressing school improvement. The next one will be on Monday, February 11, at Proviso East High School, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. The final forum will be on Monday, February 25, at Proviso Math and Science Academy, also from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
 
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