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A Message from the Superintendent

nchsmJuly 6, 2016
Dear Proviso Township High Schools District 209 Community,

It is a distinct honor to lead Proviso Township High Schools District 209 (PTHS 209) and to commit myself to the Board of Education’s charge to ensure that every school is a thriving community that prepares every student for college, career, and life.

During the interview process, the PTHS 209 Board of Education communicated its priorities for the leadership qualities sought in a superintendent of schools. Those qualities included a strong commitment to a "student first" philosophy, a vision for continuous improvement, the capacity to inspire a community of learners, and the ability to plan for improved student outcomes. A successful partnership for school governance requires shared commitments; it has become clear that my experiences and values are well aligned with the goals of the Board of Education and the Proviso school community.  As a teacher, assistant principal, principal, and district leader, my focus on creating effective and efficient systems for adult and student learning has never wavered.  In addition, a robust system of support and accountability, that is collaboratively developed and executed with staff, provides the necessary guideposts to move PTHS 209 toward our common vision of educational excellence for all learners.

Our collective plan will build on the strengths of PTHS 209 and identify the most powerful strategies for addressing our challenges as opportunities while addressing the significant achievement gaps directly with perseverance and firmness. I will be using a structured entry plan to guide my work during the first 100 days after my official start date of July 1.  That plan is described in detail by clicking here. It is critical that we learn as much as possible quickly, assessing data to determine what is and is not working in our school district.  Otherwise, we will have failed before we even get started, and failure is not an option for our students.   

In "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People," Stephen Covey makes the case that leaders must "first seek to understand, then to be understood."  The transition activities outlined in this plan are intended to allow for deep understanding of the context of public education in PTHS 209.  It outlines the immediate and long-term challenges and opportunities we face, along with the hopes and dreams of the Proviso Township High Schools community.  This plan of entry reflects my strong desire to make a thoughtful and deliberate entry into this diverse and high-profile school district.  It provides the necessary time to listen and learn about PTHS 209 while working collaboratively to develop, articulate and execute an educational vision that builds upon the current and historical success of PTHS 209 that results in "Nihil Nisi Optimum."

As PTHS 209 enters a new chapter in its 106-year history, I am eager to serve as superintendent of schools in service of talented students, devoted teachers, committed staff, loving families, supportive community members, and a committed Board of Education.  Collectively, we will strengthen trust with our stakeholders and obtain a deeper understanding of our District.  Our listening, learning, planning, and researching tour will help us make immediate improvements and determine the best course of action for our students, community and staff.  I look forward to our collective work to turn the page and write a new chapter toward a brighter future for all stakeholders to make PTHS 209 "Nothing But The Best." 
Jesse J. Rodríguez, Ph.D.
Proviso Township High Schools District 209 8601 Roosevelt Road, Forest Park, IL 60130
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