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District 209 Unveils Exciting New Programs at Forum

May 23, 2014 02:55 PM
There are several exciting new programs that are being introduced in Proviso Township High Schools District 209 for the 2014-15 school year.

The new programs were discussed at a community forum for program changes on Wednesday, May 21, at the District’s offices at Proviso Mathematics and Science Academy. The programs include those that could lead to future college credit and being prepared for a career. They are the Project Lead the Way pre-engineering program, which will be introduced for 25 students at Proviso West High School in the new school year, and a cosmetology and barber program for 40 students from Proviso East High School and Proviso West High School. Attendees also learned about the new freshman summer transition program, new special education programs, and what to expect when the Common Core Standards and the new PARCC state assessment go into effect in the 2014-15 school year.

"We have a vision and we are doing things," said Dr. Nettie Collins-Hart, superintendent of District 209. "This is an exciting time. We are providing opportunities for our students."
The cosmetology and barber program is being offered for 40 students from Proviso East and Proviso West at Ms. Roberts’ Beauty Academy in Hillside, said Mrs. Kim Echols, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction for District 209. In the program, which is pending final approval from the Board of Education, students must qualify by being at least a junior who is maintaining at least a 2.5 grade point average, have seven or fewer absences, and have no discipline issues. Those that are accepted to the program then would take five classes at their respective school - before spending five hours in the afternoon and early evening at Ms. Roberts’. With successful completion, the students would be eligible to take the certification exam in cosmetology or the barber courses that then could lead to a successful career.

"We want to increase the number of students who are prepared for college and for career," Mrs. Echols said. "We want students to walk away not only with a high school diploma, but also a skill."

In addition, Proviso Mathematics and Science Academy recently was accepted into the candidacy program for the International Baccalaureate. This is a program designed to be academically challenging and provide students with an education that can gain them entry to the most prestigious college and university programs in the world. Dr. Bessie Karvelas, principal at PMSA, said that the program works similarly as the preparation of a dissertation. To apply, students must write a 500-word essay, turn in three letters of recommendation, and complete an application. Only incoming freshmen are eligible. If accepted, the students who will be freshmen in 2014-15 would take the IB exam in 2018.

Students at Proviso West also may apply for the new Project Lead the Way pre-engineering program. Mr. Oscar Hawthorne, principal at Proviso West, said that according to studies, there is a shortage of engineers in the United States. He said that having Project Lead the Way at Proviso West, students would be eligible for college credit.

"We’re trying to establish career pathways," Mr. Hawthorne said.
For more information about the Project Lead the Way pre-engineering program at Proviso West, please visit the Proviso West website at

Also, the District is starting a freshman summer transition program to help incoming freshmen who need extra help to be better prepared for high school. Students who successfully complete the program during the summer can earn half of an elective credit and another half of an elective credit during the school year.

"We want those students to have an opportunity to get caught up before they start high school," said Mr. Dan Johnson, administrator for special projects for District 209.


Proviso Township High Schools District 209 8601 Roosevelt Road, Forest Park, IL 60130
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