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District 209 Honors Straight-A, Top Engineering Students at Proviso West

January 15, 2015 03:30 PM
Nineteen Proviso West High School students and the teacher of the new pre-engineering class at Proviso West were honored by the Proviso Township High Schools District 209 Board of Education at its regular meeting on Tuesday, January 13, at Proviso West.
Mr. Oscar Hawthorne, principal at Proviso West, recognized nine students for achieving academic excellence as they earned straight A’s for the first semester of the 2014-15 school year. They were Aaliyah Akins, Andrea Ayala, Luigi Cabantog, Devon Jackson, Annette Kwasniewski, Estefany Lopez, Sarah Scott, Precious Tonya, and Jazmin Verdin.
"This is a talented group of students," Mr. Hawthorne said. "They worked hard this semester."
Also honored were 11 Proviso West students for earning an "A" or "B" in the Project Lead the Way pre-engineering class. In its inaugural year, the class is geared toward introducing students to possible careers in engineering with a rigorous curriculum. Honored were Junior Bautista, DNaria Busby, Luigi Cabantog, Alondra Castillejo, George Fierro, Kyle Morrison, Ramon Norman, Yesenia Ortiz, Jesus Pena, Sonali Rajput, and Jose Solano. Also recognized for his work in organizing and facilitating the program was the teacher of the course, Mr. Matthew Dillard.
Mr. Hawthorne said that he was "proud of their efforts," while Dr. Nettie Collins-Hart, superintendent of District 209, said that the class was beginning to see results.
"It is encouraging to see that the program is moving forward," she said.
Mr. Hawthorne also reported on the progress in school improvement at Proviso West.
While there remains work to be done in helping more students succeed, he said that many of the students who did not graduate do return to complete their education. In addition, the participation rate of juniors who took the ACT college entrance exam and the Prairie State Achievement Examination (PSAE) climbed to 417 students for the Class of 2015. Students also showed progress from the scores that they received on the EXPLORE exam that they took as freshmen to the ACT that they took as juniors. The scores of those students also climbed, particularly for Hispanic students, who had a nine-point increase in math from 2013 to 2014. In addition, eight current seniors earned at least a 25 out of a possible 36 on the ACT, including one who earned a 35.
To help that improvement, Mr. Hawthorne said that more support services have been put in place. They include a renovated college and career center to encourage students to think of what they plan to do after they graduate, peer tutoring, lunchtime learning labs, use of the Empower 3000 and Agile Mind curriculums, and taking seniors who have not declared their post-high school plans for after graduation to Triton College, where they would apply for admission.
"We are making this trip not an option," Mr. Hawthorne said. "We’re going to walk them through the entire application process."
In addition, Proviso West has produced a resource guide in English and Spanish listing where to find specific services at the school, begun the new Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program, and started a Latino Parent Advisory Group to improve outreach to the parents of Latino students, who make up about 42 percent of Proviso West’s student enrollment.
"I’m very pleased with the efforts we’ve made this year," Mr. Hawthorne said.
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