Parents at Proviso East High School, Proviso West High School, and Proviso Mathematics and Science Academy got a look at what their students are learning at the annual "Back to School Night" on Thursday, September 4.
The Back to School Night is one of several initiatives through the Board of Education to promote more outreach to the parents and the community. The two-hour evening open house is designed to build relationships between parents and schools and introduce parents to their students’ teachers, said Dr. Nettie Collins-Hart, superintendent of District 209. At this event, more than 550 parents learned about the Title I programs at the schools, visited classrooms, met teachers, and found out what their students will be learning.
"It was an opportunity for the parents to come and meet the teachers and the administration and discuss ways they can help their students be successful in their high school careers," Dr. Collins-Hart said. "We ask our parents to continue to remain involved in our schools and invested in their children’s education."
At Proviso East, parents and several students visited classes, meeting with teachers and learning more about what is happening in the classroom.
Ms. Constance Johnson, mother of Chante Johnson, a Proviso East junior, said that she wanted to ensure that her daughter’s teachers knew who she is.
"I just want to see how she is doing and find out if there is anything I can do to help her," Ms. Johnson said. "I’m letting teachers know that I am available to help in any way."
One of the teachers that Ms. Johnson met was Ms. Marcia La Porte, an art teacher. Ms. La Porte said that Back to School Night is helpful in establishing relationships between teachers and parents.
"We’re excited to meet them and let them see the classrooms of their students," Ms. La Porte said. "We’re excited for them to meet their students’ teachers and see what their day is like."
Ms. Connie Jesukaitis, a career and technical education (CTE) teacher at Proviso West, expressed similar sentiments, saying that she wanted to explain to parents how students can begin working toward their futures while in high school.
"My goal is that we want to make an impact in CTE and help the parents realize that students can start their dreams now in high school," Ms. Jesukaitis said. "Parents seem to like this idea because their students are coming home and they’re talking about it."
Ms. Arlene Benford, mother of Jennifer Benford, a senior at PMSA, said that she believe Back to School Night is a good opportunity for students.
"This event allows me to see exactly what is going on in my daughter’s school," Ms. Benford said. "I think that it is very effective in that it clears up a lot of misconceptions a parent may have."
Mr. Michael Kozma, a PMSA social studies teacher, agreed, saying that the relationships are being built through events such as Back to School Night.
"It enables the parents to interact with teachers and many concerns that they may have are clarified this evening," Mr. Kozma said. "This event helps teachers and parents build a relationship to ensure that their son or daughter will have the best success in school."
Ms. Lurenza McGhee, mother of Lyric Coleman, a Proviso West junior, said that she left Back to School Night satisfied with the progress of her daughter’s education.
"Teachers have been very informative on the new progress that is made in the school and the new requirements in the state," Ms. McGhee said. "It’s been a great experience so far, and I think that (my daughter) is in great hands."