Board of Education members and administrators from Proviso Township High Schools District 209 and its seven feeder school districts continued the work that they began last summer at their second joint articulation meeting on January 22 at the District 209 offices at Proviso Mathematics and Science Academy.
The meeting was designed as a way for the eight school districts in Proviso Township to discuss ways that students can be better served from kindergarten through graduation from high school at Proviso East High School, Proviso West High School, or PMSA. Participating in the summit from the District 209 Board of Education were Mr. Daniel Adams, the Board’s president, and Board member, Mrs. Theresa Kelly, along with several administrators including Dr. Nettie Collins-Hart, superintendent.
Other area school districts represented by Board members and administrators were Berkeley School District 87, Bellwood School District 88, Maywood-Melrose Park-Broadview School District 89, Forest Park School District 91, Lindop School District 92, Westchester Public Schools District 92.5, and Hillside School District 93.
Continuing the work from their last meeting on July 21, 2014, superintendents discussed how to align all of the school district’s calendars so that common periods such as winter break and spring break were more likely to take place at the same time. At the same time, curriculum directors, building principals, and other administrators discussed ways that the districts could host days where they would work on aligning their curriculums later in 2015 and how to host a joint institute day for teachers in 2017.
In addition, Board members from the eight districts discussed a joint mission statement. While this has yet to be approved, a draft statement stated that "Our mission is to provide and foster an environment where each child receives a quality education that promotes respect and self-discipline and creates life-long learners." Board members are hope to finalize the final joint mission statement by June, said Mr. Jeff Cohn, a consultant from Brave Dialogue who facilitated the discussion.
"When you think of a large township trying to connect almost 19,000 students, it’s hard to do that sometimes," Mr. Cohn said at the meeting. "The question is how do you work as one."
Mr. Adams said that he found the meeting to be "excellent," especially since there were nearly 60 participants from the eight school districts at the January 22 meeting.
"We had more participating districts," he said. "It seemed like everyone wanted to work together toward the goal of educating the children and preparing them for life."
Also during the meeting, Dr. Terry Smith, executive director of Proviso Area for Exceptional Children (P.A.E.C.), covered the history of the districts meeting together in some form since the 1990s. The group also received an update on the Vision 20/20 initiative with other school districts from across Illinois.
Dr. Collins-Hart said that she was hopeful that the articulation meetings would continue, with another meeting tentatively planned for July 2015.
"We want to make this work," she said. "We hope that by July 2015, we’ll have even more progress."